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Housing Advocates Demand Tenant Protections for Alameda County Residents

With arms locked together, members of “Moms 4 Housing” staged a sit-in during the Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, after the board delayed a discussion on tenant protections for the second time Tuesday night.

The protest ended with Dominique Walker of Mom’s 4 Housing being arrested, while two others were cited.

“Nonviolent civil disobedience. We were every clear about that. We wanted to stop the meeting because there should be no meeting, when folks are potentially going to be homeless,” said Walker.

The Oakland-based activist group said they were acting to support renters in the county’s unincorporated Eden areas. The Eden area consists of Ashland, Cherryland, San Lorenzo and Hayward Acres communities.

The group is demanding three tenant protection policies including a fair chance ordinance, rental registry and just cause for evictions that passed an initial vote last month be immediately enacted before the COVID eviction moratorium ends.

“We are primarily an immigrant community, primarily people of color who are suffering and who will not have these protections,” said Julio Contreras of My Eden’s Voice.

“It is nowhere near enough but it is the baseline for what we need to protect tenants,” said Ethan Silverstein, tenant rights attorney.

Housing activists are calling on both board president Nate Miley and supervisor Lena Tam to vote in favor of the ordinances.

Tam said she planned to meet with experts before taking a stance.

Miley said that he supports increasing protections for tenants– but he believes further changes need to be made to “just cause” proposals to increase protections for smaller property owners.

“They want to push for one course of action that is universal, i want to do something that is more deliberative,” he said. “How we can carve a program together that works to protect tenants that need to be protected as well as deal with landlords that need to be dealt with but does not penalize good landlords and does not penalize good tenants.”

The moratorium is expected to end 60 days after the local health emergency ends, which could come as soon as February. Renters would then have 12 months to pay any back rent or face eviction.

Activist said they will continue their acts of civil disobedience until they feel the county is providing fair housing to all.

“We believe that housing is a human right and this is a part of it,” Walker said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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