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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Simone Cranston-Rhodes
April 9, 2015 559.426.5538
Fresno, CA - A coalition of tenants, housing advocates, and allies will join forces Thursday, April 9, at Noon at City Hall to demand meaningful protections for Fresno's struggling renters. The coalition seeks stronger enforcement of habitability laws, as well as a new ordinance to require that units are fit to rent before they are offered for rent. Approximately half of Fresno residents are renters.
"City Hall needs to put renters on the agenda," says Simone Cranston-Rhodes, Regional Organizer for Tenants Together. "The City needs to take action to protect the health and safety of the seniors, families with children, persons with disabilities, and all of the other renters in Fresno who have been ignored for too long."
Faith in Community, Lowell Community Development Corporation, Housing Alliance of Fresno, Planned Parenthood, Fresno Partnership, Laborers Local 294, Fresno Metro Ministry, No More Slumlords, and Tenants Together, are sponsoring the rally. The coalition is frustrated that the City's discussion of the problems created by slumlords has ignored occupied properties. The organizations are united in calling for healthy homes for Fresno renters.
"We are asking the City to do its part to make sure every tenant in Fresno lives in safe, secure housing that complies with habitability laws," commented Andy Levine, Executive Director of Faith in Community.
"My children are living in unsafe conditions," notes Fresno tenant Randina Elias. Elias moved into an apartment that had exposed nails sticking up from the carpet, a leak in her bathroom ceiling, windows nailed shut, and no hot water. "Living in these conditions hurts me and my family," she said.
"The City Attorney should be suing all these slumlords. How many more generations of children have to grow up in these deplorable conditions before the City requires landlords to comply with the law?" said Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Director of Tenants Together.
The coalition will unveil three basic demands at the press conference:
1. City Council should outlaw advertisement of substandard units for rent. No "for rent" sign should be posted until the unit is fit to rent. That change will help ensure that units are up to code before tenants even move in.
2. Code Enforcement should step up inspections of rental units. Fresno needs a routine inspection program to make sure all rental units are inspected periodically.
3. The City Attorney needs to file suit against slumlords that refuse to make repairs.
Fresno renters are encouraged to attend the action on Thursday, April 9, 2015 at Noon at Fresno City Hall. Tenants with questions about their rights can attend Tenants Together's next monthly tenant rights clinic on April 16th at 5:30PM at the Dickey Youth Center, 1515 E Divisadero, Fresno.