Connect with us

Housing

OPINION – Black Communities Hit by Housing Affordability, COVID Economy Should Vote ‘Yes’ on Prop. 21

Published

on

Cynthia Davis is chair of the Board of Directors of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the five citizen proponents of Prop. 21.

It’s no secret there is a housing affordability crisis in California. And a homelessness crisis of epic proportion. Both deeply and disproportionately affect Black communities across the state.

Black people are not only being pushed out of our major cities into the suburbs and exurbs of California but often entirely out of the state to places with more affordable housing. Many were pushed out by gentrification and escalating costs, be it a mortgage, rent, or other unaffordable living costs. 

As California’s population grew from 29 million to 39 million over the past 30 years, the Black population in California dwindled to just 5.8% of the general population.  

Of those African Americans who remain in the Golden State, two-thirds (65.6%) are now renters. At the same time, homeownership rates for Black Americans nationwide have been falling.

What can the African American community do to combat California’s runaway rents and rising housing costs?

Learn about and vote ‘Yes!’ on Prop. 21, the Rental Affordability Act, this election.

Prop. 21 will limit unfair rent increases and preserve affordable housing, especially in historically Black and minority communities that are particularly vulnerable to displacement due to high rents and stagnant wages. 

The law returns the decision-making process on whether to allow or enact rent control measures to local jurisdictions, communities, and local elected officials.  It will not mandate or require rent control anywhere in California. The measure simply allows local communities to decide what’s best for them.

Currently, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a one-size, fits-all state law restricts rent control throughout California, while freezing rent control laws that had already been enacted by the time the law passed.

Prop. 21 modernizes rent control by allowing local governments to limit rent increases on buildings older than 15 years, protecting millions of renters while incentivizing new housing construction.

Prop. 21 is endorsed by California Congresswomen Karen BassMaxine Waters, and Barbara Leethe California Democratic Partyactor/activist Danny Glover, Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action NetworkLos Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson, SEIU CaliforniaACLU of Southern California, the Los Angeles Urban League, the Brotherhood Crusade and Reed for Hope Foundation. 

The Los Angeles Times endorsed Prop. 21 and the Sierra Club and a dozen or so unions and labor organizations are also backing Prop. 21 including SEIU California, California Federation of Teachers, AFSCME California PEOPLE, United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 8, UAW Local 2865 and many others that have thrown their full support behind Prop 21.

Also endorsing: the California Nurses Association (CNA), representing over 100,000 nurses who have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, bearing witness firsthand to the tremendous medical, humanitarian and economic damage the virus has caused—much of it to Black and brown families.

For Black people in California, these facts remain unchanged: systemic racism and displacement has caused a disproportionate number of Black people to become homeless.

In L.A. County, where 8% of the overall population is Black, Black people represent 34% of those experiencing homelessness. And eviction rates in Black communities are far higher than in white communities. In L.A. County, 30% of all renters facing eviction are African American. 

California remains the epicenter of homelessness in America, with fully 27% of the country’s homeless living in The Golden State. California has the highest poverty rate as measured by the cost of living, and many renters pay half their income or more in monthly rent. 

This means that as a very first step, we need to work now to protect the growing number of African American renters from facing evictions, displacement, and homelessness.

Prop. 21 can be that step.

Prop. 21 gives cities and counties the power to implement and expand rent control policies that limit how much rents can increase each year. It would allow local communities to:

  • Expand rent control to more buildings while exempting newly constructed buildings.
  • Exempt single-family homeowners who own up to two homes.
  • Allow limits on rent increases when a new renter moves in.

 Prop. 21 is one way to help to preserve the social and economic fabric of our state. 

Vote ‘Yes’ on Prop. 21 this election and help keep families — particularly Black families — in their homes. 

Cynthia Davis is chair of the Board of Directors of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the five citizen proponents of Prop. 21.

 

Michelle Snider

Associate Editor for The Post News Group. Writer, Photographer, Videographer, Copy Editor, and website editor documenting local events in the Oakland-Bay Area California area.

Business

Newsom Admin Takes Steps to Stabilize California’s Troubled Insurance Market

As growing numbers of Insurance companies announce plans to exit California’s insurance market — or cancel customers’ policies — Gov. Gavin Newsom says his administration is taking steps to reverse the trend. Speaking during a news briefing on May 31, Newsom highlighted the plan, which was unveiled as part of a trailer bill on May 28.

Published

on

iStock
iStock

By California Black Media

As growing numbers of Insurance companies announce plans to exit California’s insurance market — or cancel customers’ policies — Gov. Gavin Newsom says his administration is taking steps to reverse the trend. Speaking during a news briefing on May 31, Newsom highlighted the plan, which was unveiled as part of a trailer bill on May 28.

Newsom said the proposal speeds up approvals for rate increases and addresses rising costs resulting from incidents like wildfires. Newsom said, under his plan, the Department of Insurance will be required to decide and respond to rate increase requests within 120 days. The plan also calls for streamlining the process for filing for increases; builds in two 330-deay extensions for finalizing rate changes; and provides room for insurers to appeal decisions.

“We need to stabilize this market,” Newsom said. “We need to send the right signals.

Proponents, mainly insurance industry representatives like the Personal Insurance Federation of California, are praising the Governor’s actions while consumer advocates warn that the plan is a threat to public intervention rights California’s Prop 103, a 1988 state law adopted to protect state residents from “arbitrary insurance rates and practices.”

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara thanked Newsom for backing his office’s plan.

“To safeguard the integrity of the insurance market – composed of consumers, homeowners, and business owners – we must fix a system suffering from decades of deferral and delay,” said Lara in a statement. “This measure is one of several parts of a comprehensive plan to enact long-overdue regulatory reforms. The Legislature can do its part to support my reforms by giving this proposal a fair and full consideration, including public input. By enacting this important part of our strategy in statute, the Legislature can help us meet the urgency of the moment.

Lara is working on a longer-term strategy to shore up the insurance market that is expected to be released in December.

Continue Reading

California Black Media

DoF Report: One in Five New Homes in California Are Now ADUs

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) in California have more than doubled in the last half-decade, making the yards of one in five single-family homes into multi-unit properties. California has experienced a rapid increase in ADUs since the state Legislature lowered building barriers in 2017 to resolve the housing crisis. The number of ADUs has increased from nearly 8,500 units in 2020 to more than 22,800 units in 2024.

Published

on

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

By California Black Media

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) in California have more than doubled in the last half-decade, making the yards of one in five single-family homes into multi-unit properties.

California has experienced a rapid increase in ADUs since the state Legislature lowered building barriers in 2017 to resolve the housing crisis. The number of ADUs has increased from nearly 8,500 units in 2020 to more than 22,800 units in 2024.

According to data from the California Department of Finance, one in five homes is an ADU. Property owners have expanded building projects in their backyards to accommodate family members are be used as rental units.

Since 2017, lawmakers have passed several bills to increase the availability of housing for residents statewide. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) passed AB 68 in 2019 to help residents acquire ADU permits in no less than 60 days. Lawmakers passed AB 881 the following year, allowing property owners to build ADUs on rental properties and preventing communities from requiring landlords to live on the property.

However, housing advocates argue that the state needs to build a wider variety of housing including apartment buildings. However, expansion plans for affordable housing are restricted by the lack of land near developed areas and local zoning laws that limit building in infill areas.

“Our biggest challenge in California is that so much of our zoning is for single-family homes, which makes it next to impossible to build any new housing,” said Ting.

“This is the one housing product that you can actually build in these single-family neighborhoods,” he said.

These affordable housing units are popular in cities such as Berkeley, San Jose, and Oakland. Developers have helped fuel the increase in ADUs, companies such as BrightSky Residential used new legislation to build a 71-home subdivision with a total of 141 units with no requirement to change zoning on the property. Newer development companies such as Abodu sell pre-manufactured ADUs starting at $228,800 for a 340-square-foot studio. Some companies even offer custom-built ADUs that cost approximately $500 per square foot without water and electricity connection.

The state recently passed legislation that allows homeowners to sell ADUs as condos separate from their properties, starting in July this year.

Continue Reading

Activism

Calif. Leaders Discuss Foster Care Reform Strategies for Black and Brown Youth

Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

Published

on

Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)
Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)

By Lila Brown, California Black Media  

 Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

During National Foster Care Month in May, Harris visited the Sanctuary of Hope in Los Angeles to host a roundtable meeting with current and former foster youth, many of whom, like Harris, have beat the odds and become successful professionals.

According to the federal government’s Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there are nearly 370,000 American children and youth in foster care.

Nationally, Black children are overrepresented in foster care. According to datacenter.kidscount.org, Black children represented 14% of the total child population in the United States. However, they represented 23% of all children in foster care. Harris pointed out that one out of every four foster youth go homeless upon exiting foster care in California. Across the state, there are nearly 65,000 children in foster care, he added. Of the 65,000 children in foster care across California, 14,000 of them are Black American.

Harris also announced a new effort already underway to push for the removal of the term “case” in L.A. County when referring to foster youth during the roundtable which featured Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Janet Kelly, the Founder and Director of Sanctuary of Hope. The session focused on solving problems foster youth face.

Sharing personal stories, insights, and various visions for policy changes, the participants discussed numerous solutions and addressed specific concerns about ongoing challenges with the foster care system.

One top priority was how to close the foster care to homelessness pipeline for the disproportionate number of Black and Brown children in LA County’s and the state’s foster care system.

“When you see the direct connection between the disproportionate rates of Black children in foster care and the disproportionate rates of Black people in the general homeless population, there is a very clear connection there in which our foster youth are coming out of care,” stated Harris during opening remarks.

Kaka said the governor has been intentional about making sure that foster children are homeless prioritized as the state addresses homelessness.

“This is a critical moment for foster care,” said Kaka. “The systems that are working together are looking at leveraging federal, state and local funds.”

Harris said he has already begun efforts in San Diego County to drop the word “case” when referring to homeless youth.

“We are asking for a 90-day public input period, in which the county CEO and leadership can facilitate discussions with the community on replacement terminology. There’s plenty of ideas,” Harris elaborated.

Kelly said a majority of the youth who go through the Sanctuary of Hope program are young people who have experienced some form of housing instability or housing crisis.

“The goal of the work that we do is really centered around helping young people leave here with leadership skills and other forms of what we call protective factors in order for them to continue on with their stabilization journey and become loving, caring and active citizens in this world,” Kelly said.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Attorney General Bonta and his team are working to review the decision and consider all options that will protect SB 9 as a state law. Bonta said the law has helped provide affordable housing for residents in California.
City Government1 month ago

Court Throws Out Law That Allowed Californians to Build Duplexes, Triplexes and RDUs on Their Properties

Rev. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP and pastor of Third Baptist Church. Photo courtesy Third Baptist Church.
Activism1 month ago

S.F. Black Leaders Rally to Protest, Discuss ‘Epidemic’ of Racial Slurs Against Black Students in SF Public School System

Vibe Bistro Logo
Community1 month ago

Opening Soon: Vibe Bistro Is Richmond’s New Hub for Coffee, Cuisine, Community and Culture

Oak Days shelter, once a Days Hotel, resides in the Hegenberger corridor of Oakland. It is used as a temporary home to 60 residents who have experienced chronic homelessness or are medically vulnerable. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.
Alameda County1 month ago

An Oakland Homeless Shelter Is Showing How a Housing and Healthcare First Approach Can Work: Part 1

Activism1 month ago

Oakland Post: Week of May 8 – 14, 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Community1 month ago

Gov. Newsom, Attorney General Bonta Back Bill to Allow California to Host Arizona Abortion Care

Courtesy City of Vallejo.
City Government1 month ago

Vallejo Continues to Accept Applications for Boards, Committees and Commissions

Shutterstock
California Black Media1 month ago

Cinco De Mayo: Five Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Popular Mexican American Holiday

Outdoor community events are integral to San Francisco’s vibrant culture and sense of community. iStock image.
Bay Area1 month ago

Mayor Breed Proposes Waiving City Fees for Night Markets, Block Parties, Farmers’ Markets, Other Outdoor Community Events

California Supreme Court (iStock Photo)
Business4 weeks ago

Cal. Supreme Court Could Strip Gov and Legislature of Power to Raise Taxes

ELITE Sit in 1 & 2: ELITE Public School staff and students staged a sit-in at Vallejo City Hall on Wednesday afternoon to protest the City Council’s decision to vote against their Major Use Permit to expand into downtown. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.
Community1 month ago

ELITE Charter School Conducts Sit-In Protest at Vallejo City Hall After City Council Vote

Rajah Kirby Caruth, an American professional stock car racing driver. (File Photo)
Community1 month ago

Rajah Caruth: Young Trailblazer of NASCAR

San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed (File Photo)
Bay Area1 month ago

Mayor London Breed: State Awards San Francisco Over $37M for Affordable Housing

Peggy Moore and Hope Wood, photo from their hopeactionchnage.com website
California Black Media4 weeks ago

Activist and Organizer Peggy Moore and Wife Die in Fatal Car Crash

Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom (File Photo)
Community1 month ago

Gov. Newsom Issues Proclamation Declaring Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide

Trending

Copyright ©2021 Post News Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.