Housing Justice Movement Takes on the Barons of Real Estate

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Jul 31, 2020 08:48 pm

Housing justice advocates and champions of Proposition 21, a November 2020 state ballot initiative that will limit unfair rents, keeping families in their homes and preventing homelessness, are pleased to announce they have reached a significant campaign milestone: 3,421 individual campaign donations, with an average contribution of $12.76, have been made in support of the initiative. Meanwhile, four committees supported by the most powerful players in Big Real Estate, including the California Apartment Association, the California Rental Housing Association, Essex Property Trust, AvalonBay Communities, and Equity Residential, have raised millions with a combined 141 contributions.

The billionaire-funded committees include Californians for Responsible Housing, Californians for Affordable Housing, Californians to Protect Affordable Housing, and Californians for Responsible Housing - General Purpose Committee. The average campaign contribution for Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association is $76,098.

As expected, a large portion of the tens of millions of dollars that will be raised in an effort to defeat the ballot measure will be donated by the same handful of billionaire developers and investors who have contributed to the state's ongoing housing affordability and chronic homeless crises. However, widespread grassroots support for Proposition 21 continues to grow as millions of Californians already struggling with the state's high housing costs face further housing insecurity due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

"With thousands of small, individual donations pouring in, California renters and those who support fair housing send a clear message: the gloves are off--we must use proven solutions to finally end the state's housing affordability crisis and keep families in their home," said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF, the organization sponsoring the initiative.

Prop 21 has the endorsement of an ever-expanding list of federal and state elected officials, local city councils, and social, housing, and racial justice organizations to support the fight for housing justice in California. Supporters include the CA Democratic Party, Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters, California Senate Pro Tempore Emeritus, and LA. City Councilman-elect Kevin de León (CD-14), labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, and a suite of California's tenant advocacy and social justice organizations, including the statewide Housing Now! California coalition (which consists of over 100 labor and housing justice organizations), Courage California, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Inquilinos Unidos, the Urban League of Los Angeles, and the Eviction Defense Network (EDN), as well as major labor unions, such as UNITE HERE Local 11. The Campaign has also secured the endorsements of every elected rent control board member in the state. (See the full list of endorsements here).

"The fight for housing justice will take an army of supporters who believe that all Californians deserve access to stable and affordable housing," said René Christian Moya, campaign director for the YesOn21 Campaign. "Today, with over 3000 individual donations to date, a grassroots brigade of working-class renters, families, seniors, veterans, and their advocates are mobilizing and preparing to show up in November to vote yes on Prop 21 to keep families in their homes."

Proposition 21

When passed, Proposition 21 will limit rent increases and preserve affordable housing to keep CA families in their homes. The measure would allow local communities to:

  • Limit Annual Rent Increases
  • Preserve Currently Affordable Housing
  • Incentivize the Construction of New Housing
  • Exempt Single-Family Homeowners
  • Guarantee Landlords a Fair Profit

Housing Is A Human Right (HHR) is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and the leading sponsor of Proposition 21.

Proposition 21 is sponsored by Homeowners & Tenants United, with significant funding by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. To learn more, visit yeson21ca.org and housinghumanright.org.

Ruthie Thomas, Communications Director, Rental Affordability Act (RAA)
ruth.thomas@ahf.org (310) 663-4159 cell

Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Dir., gedk@aidshealth.org (323) 791-5526 cell

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