Welcome to the thirteenth 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
The North Hollywood Local has joined forces with tenants to go on rent strike because we believe in Food Not Rent. Through actions at the residences of City Council members and COVID-safe protesting, we are hoping to get our demands across. No Rent, No Evictions, No Vacancies! One direct action the local organized in the SFV took place at Paul Krekorian’s house in Studio City.
The South Central Local is supporting our members who have chosen food over rent in responding to landlord harassment and making sure basic necessities are met. We’ve teamed up with Hunger Action to form a mutual aid subcommittee, which now is providing weekly food drop-offs to over 65 people. Additionally, we are coordinating with the Inglewood Tenants Union on an upcoming May Day action to further push forward LATU’s demands of rent cancellation for all!
Union de Vecinos Eastside
Union de Vecinos Eastside Local has come to face the Covid-19 public health crisis sweeping through its membership. Half of our members have lost their jobs or much of their income. The Local launched a rent strike on April 1st with a rally and car caravan at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. More than a hundred tenant activists and their supporters made noise on foot and in their cars honking, with signs like “Choose Food Over Rent,” “Can’t Pay! Won’t Pay!” and “Cancel Rent!”. Over the month of April the rent strike has been growing in Boyle Heights, Downtown and East Los Angeles to more than 150 tenant families in public as well as private rental housing.
These past few weeks the East Hollywood Local has made an effort to outreach to the most vulnerable tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, we’ve been able to assist, advise and organize with our working class, Spanish-speaking, undocumented Latinx neighbors. We have 80+ households that have joined the rent strike and sent out non-payment rent letters to their landlords. We’ve gained new members and started forming new tenants’ associations.
Like other locals throughout the city, the Hollywood Local has been operating in crisis mode since it became clear in mid-March that the pandemic would precipitate unprecedented economic shock. New members have come on board and stepped up for crucial responsibilities; long-time members have assumed expanded roles. By early April, the local had been in touch with 50 households and TA representatives (representing a total 100+ tenants) who had declined to pay rent. On April 13, the local voted to endorse a general rent strike. Food not rent — don’t pay your landlord a single fucking cent!
We’ve started meeting every week, and have seen a surge in new organizers as well as tenants unable to pay rent. Our Casework Committee is stepping up to work with at least 65 new members who have gone on rent strike, and a new Mutual Aid Committee has formed to assist our members with food, medicine and household needs. Many of our members continue to support the Reclaiming Our Homes efforts in El Sereno.
Vermont y Beverly (VyBE)
VYBE has grown by leaps in the last few weeks, with over 150 members of our local currently on rent strike. Each meeting, we review our current legal rights and strategize about how to win rent cancellation and collective bargaining with our landlords. We are focusing on outreach, growing our local and organizing tenants associations. We have decided to hold Spanish-dominant meetings in the future to make sure our meetings reflect our membership.
The Canoga Park Local has been working on our internal process to ensure effective organizing and better coordination between our committees. We also have been informing and organizing tenants around the Food Not Rent campaign.
The Wilmington/South Bay local held its first workshop on March 10th. Since then we’ve held 3 meetings online. We’re doing an outreach action at the Wilmington supermarket El Super on Saturday 4/25 at 12pm. We’re continuing to do other FOOD NOT RENT outreach and working with a few buildings to form tenant associations.
The People’s City Council
A handful of LATU organizers from different locals have brought together a coalition including members of Sunrise LA, NOlympics, Street Watch LA, KTown For All, Crenshaw Subway Coalition, H-Minus Encampment, and DefendNELA under the umbrella of the People’s City Council. We’ve held car rallies at the homes of municipal politicians, highlighting their neglect of housed and unhoused tenants and their utter failure to represent the 64% of Angelenos who do not own property. Please submit public comment online using the hashtag #PeoplesCityCouncil. Our demands: NO RENT, NO EVICTIONS, NO VACANCIES.
As a writer and creative, a number of my earning opportunities have been put on hold. As such, I am withholding rent. Thirty years I’ve sown into our economy — since age 13. My message to politicians, who have bailed out McDonald’s: show reciprocity by canceling rent during COVID-19.
— Jehan C W (Hollywood Local member)
I was laid off from my job at a bar in March and was already experiencing financial hardship. My friend told me to join LATU and I have found it’s helped me channel my feelings of helplessness into something productive and powerful! Since joining LATU I’ve attended several meetings, joined the union’s Crisis Communications Committee, participated in two actions, and have been working with a Spokescouncil subcommittee to plan a union-wide action on April 30th! Housing is a human right!
— Hollywood Local member
I don’t know what to do. My landlord is watching me every day. In the morning, they are checking my every move to see what I’m doing. They think I’m going to do something to their car. Every time I go out, I can’t handle being there. They told me I didn’t have to leave. I want to leave but I can’t find a place. A place I liked cost more $2200/month. I cannot pay for a place that expensive.
— Norma (North Hollywood Local member)