Building Renter Power from the ground up

Thursday, September 28, 2017

We're blown away. About 400 tenants, organizers, and advocates came together last weekend for the biggest statewide tenants' rights convention in recent memory. Hosted by Tenants Together, Homes for All, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and Right to the City Alliance, we called it California Renter Power, and that power, expressed in unity, solidarity, and resilience, was energizing and inspiring.

We came away from the weekend firm in our commitment to build a tenant movement from the ground up, and not rely on politicians who often don't have our interests at heart.

It’s up to us to end the housing and displacement crisis.

Most cities don’t have laws that stop landlords from increasing the rent however much they want. Even laws that do exist are continually undermined. Landlords, developers and real estate speculators make millions while we face the trauma of rising rents, evictions, displacement and homelessness. Communities can’t thrive in these conditions.

At the Assembly, we focused on strengthening and expanding rent control in more cities in California, and repealing the state law that limits local rent control, the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

This crisis is not just in big cities on the coasts.In many rural and inland areas, the cost of housing is out of reach for most residents, who often pay the majority of their income on rent and must choose between paying for rent and other basic necessities. We need to do more to support tenant organizing in these areas and build out support networks statewide.

Tenants Together helps form, support, unite, and build power with local tenant groups across California.From starting a building-wide tenant association, to scaling up with a city-wide tenants union, we advise and connect organizers to resources. We also run a statewide renters' rights hotline open to our individual members all over the state, a lifeline to tenants in communities where there are few to no resources for education and tenant organizing.

Join Tenants Together today to support our work!

(Photo from Long Beach Residents Empowered)

Check out these photos and videos of  the California Renter Power 2017 Statewide Assembly:

Event photos by Timo Saarelma, LA Tenants Union

Event photos by Mike Dennis, Homes for All

Share your photos and videos by posting on the event page here!

There will be more to share on the event and recap soon!


Thank you to the planning team who organized over the past year to make this statewide assembly happen:

Aimee Inglis, Tenants Together

Alma Blackwell, Causa Justa :: Just Cause

Cynthia Strathman, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy

Dagan Bayliss, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy

Dan Harper, Tenants Together

Davin Cardenas, North Bay Organizing Project

Joe Delgado, ACCE

Jorge Rivera, Long Beach Residents Empowered

Josh Butler, Housing Long Beach

Mari Perez-Ruiz, Alameda Renters Coalition

Sara Linck-Frenz, Tenants Together

Terra Graziani, Tenants Together

Tony Samara, Homes for All

Walt Senterfitt, Los Angeles Tenants Union


Thank you to the funders and organizations who stepped up with resources:The San Francisco Foundation, Bay Area Regional Tenant Organizing, Faith in Action Bay Area, Right to the City Alliance, Homes for All, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Tenants Together, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, Causa Justa :: Just Cause, The Utility Reform Network, and Housing Rights Committee San Francisco.

Thanks to the organizations that went above and beyond in recruiting volunteers for the event:Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Alameda Renters Coalition, and Housing Rights Committee San Francisco.

Many more made important contributions--thanks to all!--it is truly people-power who made this gathering possible!

Help build power for renters' rights: