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YUCA action today at 5 Newell Court, EPA!

Original post made by Hmmm, East Palo Alto, on Nov 4, 2009

PITCH A TENT! Rally to roll back rents at Page Mill-owned units
Location: WestPark Apartments, 5 Newell Court, EPA
Date and Time: Wed, Nov 4 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

East Palo Alto Tenants and Youth United for Community Action to launch weekly actions until Page Mill Properties, Wald Receivers, and Investors Property Services roll the rents back!

East Palo Alto, CA –On Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at 4:30PM, East Palo Alto tenants and community members will put up tents on the sidewalks near Page Mill Properties WestPark Apartments. The tents symbolize the number of people that were displaced by the illegal and absurd rent increases that families have to pay. Many of these tenants are low-income Latino and African-American families. This action will take place at WestPark Apartments, 5 Newell Court in East Palo Alto, CA. This action will be the launch of weekly actions by tenants and community members until the rents are rolled back!

While the court-appointment of Wald Realty Advisors took place almost two months ago and Wald has shown a much more open way of communicating with community members than Page Mill, many tenants still feel crunched by the high rents and feel there are many questions left unanswered. Many tenants still report getting mixed messages from staff, getting harassed by security, and don’t feel respected. Thus, while the head leadership has changed, the attitude of staff on the ground hasn’t, and tenants are left wondering – when are things really going to change?

Over the last years since Page Mill has been in charge of the apartments, many of the tenants residing in apartments owned by Page Mill Properties received numerous amounts of rent increases. In 2007, East Palo Alto’s already tight rent control ordinance clearly stated that a landlord could increase the rent by 3.2% and by 2.9% in 2008, depending on the annual general adjustments. Despite that, many tenants received an increase above 50%. In June 2008, Page Mill Properties announced yet another round of rent increases to pass on to tenants living in their 1,700 units in East Palo Alto. However, increased tenant pressure have resulted in wins – including the Rent Board adopting sweeping changes on rent board rules and regulations.

Since January 2008, Youth United for Community Action, a community organization made of young people working on environmental and social justice issues in our community of East Palo Alto, has been working to stop the rent increases and support tenants who have been affected by them. YUCA members, some of whom have been affected by these rent increases as well, have organized rent clinics, outreached to tenants, organized tenants to attend rent hearings and court hearings, held rallies, and proposed changes to the Rent Board Regulations. This action is the first in a series of actions that YUCA is launching to demonstrate the need to roll back the rents. YUCA along with many tenants from West Park is dedicated to winning the fight against Page Mill. They have shown tenants that everyone no matter who they are, they all have a voice waiting to be heard.

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