The Power of Collaboration with the Spirit of the Community

| July 4, 2022 | 0 Comments

It is my belief that as Americans we are given the opportunity to use our skills and talents to make a difference, and that through the power of collaboration and the spirit of community, we can create viable solutions in our lifetime.

That is something that I truly believe is possible. 

With the celebration of 4th of July, we strive to remember the challenges and successes we have experienced as Americans.  Every day I am honored and amazed to see the efforts of many individuals who have overcome monumental hurdles and worked in harmony with others to create great outcomes.

Historians share this with us that our forefathers (and sisters) made great sacrifices and accomplishments by dedicating their time, resources, skills, and talents to do “right” for a mutual cause, one that is in concert with all entities. 

As we look at our world today, we can learn much from those who came before us, especially when we appreciate that collaboration was critical to the process and was met with a united and unified approach.

Unfortunately, as we are constantly reminded of a “housing crisis,” it’s fact that we are not looking at the whole picture and not addressing those who have housing yet are facing an extremely serious situation. This past week, I learned of the following, which is distressful and shouldn’t be ignored.

State leaders are allowing eviction protections to expire on June 30 for tens of thousands of families who have applied for California’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), and still await a response, appeal, or payment. A recent report from the National Equity Atlas, Western Center on Law & Poverty, and Housing Now! found that more than 106,654 applicants are still waiting for their applications to be reviewed while one in three applicants had already received eviction notices at the time of application. 

Earlier in June community-based organizations, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) and PolicyLink, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for administering ERAP in a way that is opaque, denies applicants due process upon denial, and disproportionately harms tenants on the basis of race, color, and national origin. A prior lawsuit filed in May against HCD says the state also failed to provide the full amount of rental assistance intended by the law establishing the state’s ERAP, putting tenants at increased risk of eviction and homelessness. 

In light of the economically devastating pandemic and failures of ERAP leaving thousands of families still at risk for displacement, renters across the state are organizing and calling on local elected officials to pass needed permanent tenant protections to stymie the growing housing crisis that has disproportionately affected communities of color and the working poor.  In cities such as Fresno and Pasadena, community leaders are organizing campaigns for Rent Control and Just Cause Ordinances, while others, such as Los Angeles and Concord are championing a Tenant Bill of Rights, which will require landlords to maintain livable, healthy standards for their tenants.  

As we consider what has taken place, we should ask ourselves, “Why is this happening when we hear from our elected officials that there is a housing crisis? Should this not be a priority?”

What we also need to ask ourselves is who among our elected officials is seeking to address these issues and provide a collaborative process to our housing situation in California?  

If we don’t, we will continue to do the opposite of creating a comprehensive plan that addresses of all the issues with logic, rational and with the spirit of the community as a priority. 

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Category: feature, Government, Housing, Local News, Real Estate

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