Housing Justice

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We have an affordable housing crisis.

A recent report found that renters in Santa Cruz County need to earn $50.96 per hour – more than four times state minimum wage – to afford the median monthly asking rent of $2,650. Additionally, when factoring in high housing costs, Santa Cruz County’s poverty rate increases from 13.8 percent to 24.8 percent, one of the highest in the state.

09.18.18 Survey resultThat’s why SEIU 521 members are working towards finding a solution to this crisis. In a survey we participated in with UCSC, over 90% of the SEIU 521 members surveyed said they wanted to see our union get more involved in the affordable housing fight. You can see the preliminary results of that survey here.

What can you do?

learn more buttonThis is an unprecedented moment when we can address the high cost of housing in 5 different ways all at once. On the ballot this November, there are 5 different opportunities we have endorsed to increase the supply of affordable housing on the Central Coast and solve the crisis that is displacing so many of our coworkers and neighbors. We can’t miss this chance.

You can learn more about these ballot initiatives here.

housing resources buttonYou may already qualify for affordable housing programs that are in place. Click here to see a list of resources that may be available to you.

Save the Date: UCSC Presentation on how the Housing Crisis Impacts SEIU 521 members

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In an attempt to further understand the housing needs of our union members, SEIU 521 partnered with 52 students from UCSC’s Labor Studies Department to study how the affordable housing crisis impacts those of us who live or work in Santa Cruz County.

The purpose of the UCSC research project – No Place Like Home: Santa Cruz Displacement and Commuting – is to document the housing concerns of those who work in and serve Santa Cruz County.

Mark your calendars – on October 18, UCSC students will present their findings, and provide a space for us to discuss solutions to this crisis.


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Santa Cruz Sentinel Commentary: Rent control: Things we might agree on

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This following excerpt is from an op-ed published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel from landlords and homeowners who support Measure M. You can read the full article here.

As landlords and homeowners, we understand why some of our landlord friends are anxious about the proposed rent control ordinance on the ballot. Some of us are nervous about Measure M’s potential restraints on our power to raise rents and evict tenants. We all grew up here in the U.S. — property is sacred.

But we also agree that rents have gotten too high. We want community stability. We understand that forcing people out of their homes causes a community-level trauma, disrupts our schools, and drastically weakens the very fabric of our neighborhoods.

And many of our landlord friends support the regulation of housing, even rent control in principle, just “not this ordinance.” We know there was some early misinformation that suggested Measure M would stop nuisance evictions (which it doesn’t) and allow endless subleasing (which it doesn’t) but those have long been debunked, so why the worry?

Read the full op-ed here.

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Report: Rent Control Key to Stabilize California Housing Market

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Rent control policies are key to stabilizing California’s housing affordability crisis, which has driven millions of people into poverty and displaced hundreds of thousands of others, a new analysis released Wednesday by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley shows.

The research brief, titled “Opening the Door for Rent Control: Toward a Comprehensive Approach to Protecting California’s Renters,” finds that rent control, when applied with other housing policies, can prevent housing costs from spiraling out of control and forcing families to leave their neighborhoods.



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HUGE news: The Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times editorial boards just endorsed Proposition 10!

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Here are some of the reasons the Sac Bee and LA Times join nurses, teachers, civil rights leaders and the League of Women Voters in urging Californians to pass Proposition 10 in November:


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Housing costs contribute to 7.5 million residents living in poverty, according to new census figures

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A new report from the California Budget & Policy Center paints a grim picture about the impact housing has on rising rates of poverty in our state.

California continues to have one of the highest poverty rates among the 50 states, statistically tied for first with Florida and Louisiana, according to new Census data released this morning based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). This poverty measure provides a more accurate indicator of economic need in California than the official federal poverty measure because it accounts for the high cost of living in many parts of the state, among other factors.


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Report: Santa Cruz County in need of nearly 12,000 new affordable rentals

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 12.11.36 PMThis week, the Santa Cruz Sentinel published an article highlighting a new report on the state of the housing crisis in our County.

This report, from the non-profit California Housing Partnership Corporation, found that  Santa Cruz County is in need of nearly 12,000 new affordable rental homes to meet demand.

Additionally, when factoring in the high housing costs of Santa Cruz County, the poverty rate in our community rises to 24.8%.


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Housing Roundup: Sept. 2 – 8

housing justice committee logo_weekly roundupHere’s a summary of this week’s coverage of California’s affordable housing crisis.

Featuring stories from the Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Business Times, Mercury News, VICE, CALmatters, and ABC Sacramento.



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