'Rent is too damn high!' say affordable housing activists in Oakland, Sacramento and Los Angeles

- Oakland community organizers and politicians gathered on the steps of Frank H. Ogawa plaza Monday to demand a repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. 

"The rent is too damn high," Carol Fife, of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, said to the crowd at the steps of City Hall. "And it should bother us."

She and other housing advocates held the rally to announce they have enough signatures to place the Affordable Housing Act on the statewide November ballot. 

"While evictions are creating a crisis in California, thousands of people are being forced out of their homes and the neighborhoods they grew up in, commuting hours to and from work, or literally living on the streets. Hard-working people can't afford a decent place to live. California can do better, and we need immediate change to stop this wave of displacement to keep people in their homes," wrote the organizers of the Affordable Housing Act. " The organization is comprised of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Alliance of California's for Community Empowerment and the Eviction Defense Network. 

The ballot measure would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act, which prohibits rent control on units built after 1995, exempts single-family homes and condos and allows landlords to raise rents to market value between tenants. 

Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said the new ballot measure would protect hard-working people like teachers and nurses who are being "forced" out of neighborhoods.

"We want to put a stop to families being displaced," Kaplan said. "We want to put a stop to people being pushed into homelessness." 

There were also noon rallies at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, and a morning rally at Los Angeles City Hall.

KTVU contributed to this report.
 

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