Welcome to the twelfth issue of The Tenant! Each issue features updates from LATU locals about recent goings-on in their neighborhood. We hope this will foster solidarity and communication across LATU citywide. If you’d like your local represented in the next issue, please send a 100-word blurb describing what you’ve been up to for the past month as a local to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Los Angeles Tenants Union media committee
Tenants from Dorset Village hosted reps from Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s office at their last Tenants Association (TA) Meeting, demanding the council member publicly oppose Jeff Greene’s project at an upcoming press rally. * The Latinos Unidos TA of 92nd St have begun to see the repairs they’ve demanded, standing strong together against attempts to intimidate leaders within the TA. Long-time tenants on Corbett St are facing the sale of their building and are experiencing habitability issues. They’ve formed a TA to fight for their homes.
VyBe is spearheading a city-wide Anti-Ellis campaign. We’ve formed the first coalition of multiple tenant associations, with the aim of organizing against the Ellis Act. In March, the Housing Committee will hear the motion on the use of eminent domain to expropriate Hillside Villa. This eminent domain motion was filed to protect tenants living under an expiring affordability covenant, and is the first in the history of LA. Eminent domain has traditionally been used to evict families for private and developer interests to build projects such as Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, and the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
One of our tenants in North Hollywood is being evicted from an illegal unit (garage converted to a dwelling), but she wants to give the landlord all hell with public pressure. Members of our local gave a presentation at LA Valley College, at the invitation of a professor who came to one of our meetings. We are currently seeking organizers to support the tenant struggle against gentrification and displacement. Our meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month from 6:30–9pm. Come organize with us!
The fight continues for 120 senior households in The Metro apartments. The seniors are close to losing their housing due to rent increases that exceed their fixed incomes. LATU has gotten ahold of the accounting for the building, and we have serious concerns about The Metro’s “affordability” status under the Low-Income Tax Credit Housing scheme. At a protest on Saturday, February 1, holding signs in Russian and Armenian, tenants demanded a meeting with George Russo, the billionaire owner of Meta Housing and Western Community Housing (the nonprofit arm of Russo’s operations). Russo continues to hide behind his employees who insultingly suggest that the seniors should be happy to have housing. George Russo, meet with your tenants and negotiate fair rent increases that will allow the seniors to stay in their housing!
We’ve formed an Unhoused Working Group, and have begun to do outreach to folks living in encampments along Figueroa. * In January, NELo members attended a powerful vigil and protest against the white-washing of community murals that helped prevent the erasure of the beloved Tenochtitlan Mural by Beverly Hills developers Fig Crossing LLC. * One of our long-time members, Lupe, has been offered a $100,000 buyout to vacate her home. While most of her original neighbours moved out, Lupe has refused the offer and is working with NELo organizers to form a TA with the newer tenants. We’re working with numerous other tenants on cases involving habitability issues and renovictions. Tenants are fighting back and demanding their right to safe, adequate housing!
The Canoga Park Local has held four canvassing events since its launch in January! Through canvassing, we’ve been able to help a tenant, Mirary, start a TA, which will be in action starting in March. Also, we’ve teamed up with Pierce College and LA Valley College to create awareness, activism and a pathway to getting involved with LATU. The community is definitely in need of our Local, and we are excited to expand the fight!
BLC (Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, Crenshaw)
February 2020 marks the one-year anniversary for our local, which is now 50 members strong! This month, our local has been concentrating on meeting other grassroots organizations within the community to create solidarity. We have had an opportunity to have members from ACCE, CCED, Life Development Group, and others in attendance. We have been focused on individual tenant casework and helping tenants file complaints with HCID and the Health Department.
In a major victory, Carolina, a tenant, got a final letter from the housing department stating that the owner occupancy eviction her landlord was filing was illegal after we met and intervened with HCID! * The Fairfax and Lavonia Tenant Associations continue to fight against their Ellis evictions, and we are thrilled to have a new TA formed on Rossmore. We are planning on helping the TAs organize a press conference to give them more visibility and to pressure our local district politicians to take action that would let them stay in their housing!