AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and its housing advocacy division, Housing Is A Human Right (HHR), applaud California Gov. Gavin Newsom for providing leadership in addressing the state’s devastating housing affordability and homeless crises. Unfair, excessive rents have caused widespread homelessness, displacement, and gentrification throughout California.
AHF was a primary proponent and the major funder of Proposition 10 last November, which would have repealed the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act — the state law that places severe restrictions on local rent control ordinances. Costa Hawkins has been a major contributor to the excessive rental rates Californians have experienced for decades. Prop 10 was defeated after it faced an opposition campaign funded largely by corporate landlords that spent nearly four times more than the proponents.
“While we were very disappointed in the loss of Proposition 10,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein, “the initiative was successful in heightening the debate around high rents across the state and strengthening the resolve of Proposition 10’s hundreds of endorsers to fix this problem. As Governor Newsom said, ‘The pressures on vulnerable renters didn’t go away after the election.’”
Weinstein added, “We are gratified that Governor Newsom heard the same call we did for rent reforms. AHF and HHR are committed to resuming our substantial engagement on this issue, working with our Proposition 10 coalition and our many allies in the Legislature, to get meaningful rent reform through the Legislature and on the Governor’s desk.”
Median rents in California are higher than any other state in the country. Among all 50 states, California has the fourth highest increase in rents. Even though California represents only 12 percent of the total U.S. population, the state is home to 22 percent of the nation’s homeless population, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
In his state of the state address today, Newsom made a commitment to urgently address the housing affordability and homeless crises. We were particularly encouraged by the governor’s challenge to state legislators to create “new rules to stabilize neighborhoods and prevent evictions.”
“Here is my promise to you,” Newsom told state legislators, “you get me a good package on rent stability this year and I will sign it.”
Proposition 10 did not win statewide, but it was strongly supported by more than 525 organizations and civic leaders. The measure also won a majority of support in cities where skyrocketing rents are devastating communities. Prop 10 won in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Inglewood, West Hollywood, Glendale, and many other cities. Millions of tenants want some form of rent control.
“Governor Newsom’s pledge to sign a rent stabilization bill this year is wonderful news for the state’s 17 million tenants,” says Rene Moya, director of Housing Is A Human Right. “We applaud the governor for recognizing the importance of rent stabilization policies to keep families, especially working and middle-class families, in their homes. A majority of Californians consistently support rent control, and it took nearly $80 million by corporate landlords and the real estate lobby to confuse voters last November to stop Proposition 10. We urge the State Legislature to get a rent stabilization law on the Governor’s desk as quickly as possible. California tenants can’t wait any longer.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, based in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest HIV/AIDS medical provider in the world. It serves more one million people in 43 countries. AHF patients in California and throughout the nation have been negatively impacted by soaring housing costs and gentrification.
Housing Is A Human Right is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. It fights gentrification, promotes stronger tenant protections, and advances progressive housing policies. Media contact: HHR Director Rene Moya, [email protected] or 323-362-2904.