Housing for All

Author: Claudia Jimenez

I am a Richmond resident. It is hard to believe that while many cities and even the state of California are championing Rent Control, tonight the mayor of Richmond is proposing a ballot measure to repeal rent control. In this time when many cities are passing moratoriums to allow families to be safe and keep their homes, the mayor Tom Butt is considering removing protections for more than 3,000 Richmond families and individuals. The pandemic has shown how devastating it can be when our incomes are not enough to cover rent or mortgage payments. Rent control is a fair policy to make sure rents don’t rise so fast that people lose their homes. It hasn’t been a perfect policy. Like any policy, it has needed adjustments in the first few years. But it has worked. Rents are not rising as much as they were four years ago. People who are evicted for no reason have the right to stand up for themselves. This means tenants get a little bit more freedom to choose when they move, choose when they pull their kids out of their school, choose when they leave the neighborhood where their long-time neighbors, relatives, or church may be.

We have real issues in this city that deserve our attention now, not a political battle over a policy that we already voted on. We need to be thinking about how we keep our small businesses open during the pandemic and afterwards. We need to think about supporting working parents with kids at home all summer. We need to support homeowners who haven’t been able to work and have to pay their mortgages. We need to make sure no-one is going hungry in our city. These are real issues that are urgent and demand a response from our local government. We don’t need to waste time with a political fight about protecting renters from unfair rent increases and evictions.