Dear Supporter,

On the night of June 16th, the Richmond City Council became the second city in the California to enact a "Just Cause" ordinance protecting tenants from unfair evictions from foreclosed homes.

Many renters in California have become unseen victims of the foreclosure crisis.  When a rental property goes into foreclosure, tenants are often times notified by the landlords at the last minute or not at all.  Not only do families lose their housing with little to no notice, but renters have lost hundreds to thousands of dollars in security deposits and prepaid rent.  In Richmond, 50% of residents are renters, and with 2,000 current foreclosures and a 30% increase predicted over the next year, the City faces a serious crisis. With an eviction on record, residents have difficulty finding new homes and many families have become homeless.

Passed unanimously, the ordinance spells out 12 specific circumstances where eviction is allowed, none of which is foreclosure. The ordinance provides an affirmative defense for a tenant in an unlawful detainer action, contains retaliatory eviction protection and it requires payment of a relocation fee in the amount of two times the monthly rent plus $1000.

Lorie Chinn, chairperson of the Richmond chapter of Contra Costa ACORN states, "This is a huge win for the residents of Richmond. Although we are celebrating this great victory with the rest of the REDI collaborative, the struggle is not over.  This economic and housing crisis is an opportunity to create a better Richmond. Moving forward, we need a Just Cause eviction ordinance that will protect renters throughout this city from 'all' unjust evictions. People need to know that there are laws and ordinances that will protect them from slumlords and those that would try to unjustly evict or take advantage of them."

Contra Costa ACORN and the other members of Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) have been pushing for a set of housing-related policies to help protect the Richmond communities from the devastating effects of the foreclosure crisis.  In March, over 500 community residents attended a town hall meeting where the coalition presented elected officials with their platform, which included policies to:

     - Stabilize and revitalize Richmond neighborhoods

     - Create more long-term affordable housing

     - Put Richmond residents back to work rebuilding Richmond. 

Since the town hall, ACORN and other REDI community leaders have been meeting with council members and city staff to implement these policies.  Councilmember Dr. Jeff Ritterman introduced the "just cause" measure - one important step towards stabilizing Richmond communities. 

2009 ACORN and ACORN logo are Registered Trademarks of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Inc.

ACORN is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 400,000 member families organized into neighborhood chapters in 100 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members. Our priorities include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools. ACORN is an acronym, and each letter should be capitalized. ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.


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