Goldsmith Housing/Homelessness Q1
I grew in up poor in Santa Monica with my dad and younger brother. From a young age, I experienced the impact and uncertainty that housing insecurity can have on a family. Fortunately, rent control in Santa Monica helped keep rents affordable so that we could keep a roof over our heads. But when my dad died, my brother and I were on the brink of homeless. It was only the kindness of friends that kept us off the streets.
For years, tenants across the state have had little legal protection against steep rent hikes and evictions, which are increasingly forcing tenants to leave their communities—or even worse—pushing them onto the streets. Now tenants are demanding a more balanced playing field with responsible protections while still ensuring landlords can make a reasonable return on their investments. This is especially important for tenants in low-income communities of color who are being disproportionately impacted by our county’s housing crisis.
In recent years, there has been a surge in homelessness. This year’s homeless count revealed a 12% increase in the number of people experiencing homeless, with the county citing rising rents and economic instability as contributing factors.
Rent stabilization is a powerful tool to keep housing affordable and prevent homelessness, especially when coupled with other pro-tenant policies like just cause eviction and inclusionary zoning. These policies are good for homeowners, landlords and renters because they create greater predictability and provide stability for entire neighborhoods.