East Bay for Everyone takes an all-of-the-above approach to housing advocacy. Housing is a human right, and it is fundamental for the wellbeing of residents that we use every tool at our disposal to ensure housing stability in the East Bay. We seek the adoption of policies that will ensure housing is affordable, accessible, and stable for every resident. A key component of this is protecting renters from displacement, which is why we strongly support Proposition 10. Per our organization’s platform: “To achieve [housing stability for tenants], we support the repeal of Costa-Hawkins and stand in solidarity with ongoing struggles to pass rent control on older buildings in cities throughout the East Bay.”
The housing crisis is real and happening now. While building new homes for a growing population is crucial to fixing our housing shortage, the effect new supply has on housing affordability will take decades to be truly significant to lower-income residents. This is unacceptable for thousands of tenants, who may be one emergency away from missing this month’s rent, are facing rent hikes, or are being evicted. Housing insecurity has a profound effect on communities of color, immigrants, and lower income residents in particular. We absolutely need to increase housing supply in the long term, but we also need to stop the immediate harm caused by rent hikes in the short term.
Some opponents of Proposition 10 disagree with enabling cities to use rent control maliciously to prohibit newcomers and maintain economic exclusion. We understand that using rent control to stall housing production by making development projects financially unviable will profoundly hurt the mobility of existing tenants and harm incoming tenants.
However, developers are still free to set initial rents after a project is built, and obstructionist permitting processes and construction costs are far more destructive to financial viability. Moreover, even with Proposition 10, city governments will still have to comply with the state’s regional housing requirements that have been progressively strengthened. We must also work on developing a robust social housing system in addition to making new market-produced homes viable.
Most importantly, restrictive zoning offers no benefits to renters but overwhelmingly contributes to the housing shortage. Any reduction in housing production from expanded rent control pales in comparison to the impacts of apartment bans, exclusionary zoning, and other forms of segregation that dominate the vast majority of our cities’ land use. There is no substitute for local organizing — we look forward to working with East Bay cities and counties to create rent control policies that protect current residents in addition to advocating for reforms that legalize new housing.
East Bay for Everyone works with ideologically diverse groups from many backgrounds and positions. While there is widespread approval of rent control as a concept, there is uneasiness about the sponsor of Proposition 10, his history of perpetuating housing shortages, and the clause prohibiting future state oversight. These genuine concerns are held particularly among our organization’s membership. We do not disparage fellow housing advocates for being skeptical to the point of not supporting Proposition 10 because of the concerning provision.
However, the foundational principle of EBFE is allyship, and this means showing up for housing allies in mutual support even if the solution is not perfect. We stand with other tenant and housing justice organizations for this rare opportunity to eliminate Costa Hawkins. Ultimately, Proposition 10 is a question of whether we would have supported Costa Hawkins in 1995 or not, and the answer is unapologetically no.
A core tenet of the Yes In My Backyard movement is that we can accommodate today’s residents and accommodate new residents without displacement. Inclusive, pro-housing policies are what ensure California is truly a sanctuary state. Our mission is to ensure marginalized communities that have developed their cultures and institutions can remain here, while inviting in new generations of immigrants, refugees, workers, and other aspiring Californians who want to make the East Bay their home. Rent control and producing significantly more housing are policies that disempower landlords’ control over our neighborhoods. That is why East Bay for Everyone endorses Proposition 10.