Parent Advocates Release New Report Highlighting Need for Stronger Protections for Renters in Antioch
Endless concerns about rising rents by landlords, displacement, and habitability concerns highlighted among 1,000 Antioch residents in survey
Antioch, CA – Advocates held a rally on June 22, 2022 to demand safe, affordable housing and an immediate end to exorbitant rent increases. Low income renters in There are no apartments available. Y White House ApartmentsTwo government-subsidized affordable housing buildings are facing potential displacement after their corporate landlord recently raised monthly rents by as much as $500.
Before the rally, participants gathered in the Lowe’s parking lot at nearby 1951 Auto Center Drive, where they marched to the Delta Pines apartments while holding signs and chanting.
Residents of Delta Pines and Case Blanca aren’t the only ones facing rent surges. A new survey of Antioch residents released today finds that rent increases and housing instability are widespread across the city. Seventy-nine percent of renters report feeling concerned about rent increases, while 68 percent worry about being able to pay their current rent.
Local parent advocates with the East County Regional Group (ECRG), sponsored by Contra Costa Top 5led the community survey of more than 1,000 Antioch residents to understand their housing challenges and needs.
The rally was organized by ECRG, First 5 Contra Costa, and The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). Residents of Delta Pines, Casa Blanca, and community members with ECRG spoke about their first-hand experiences with unaffordable rents, eviction fears, and landlord harassment.
Speakers shared survey data showing the need for renter protections for Antioch families. The event will be held in coordination with ACCE’s statewide day of action to highlight abuses by corporate owners.
“Housing insecurity is a threat to our basic humanity,” said Rocheall Pierre, an Antioch resident and active ECRG member who will speak at the rally. “Living in Antioch challenges all parents, no matter where they are from or what their income is, to find a safe and decent place to raise their family. I live in a corporate owned building and am paying $1,800 for a one bedroom apartment for myself and my son. After the rent, there is not enough left to cover emergency expenses. I’ve had to take out payday loans, which puts me even deeper in debt. Antioch’s housing system is broken and prioritizes homeowners over local families.”
the new report “CHANGE in Antioch: An Assessment of Community Housing Needs, Gaps, and Fairness in Antioch, California” is a partnership between ECRG, First 5 Contra Costa, Healthy & Active Before 5 and Urban Habitat. Survey responses were collected in 2021 and the process was guided by resident leadership and community-based participatory research principles. Although the survey was available to complete online, 81 percent of responses were collected individually by ECRG leaders using tablets and paper surveys. Promotion of the survey included social media, phone banking, door-to-door visits, and conversations with residents at community events, vaccination sites, laundromats, grocery stores, parks, clinics, churches, and local service organizations.
Key findings in the report include:
- On average, those surveyed paid 63 percent of their monthly income on rent, leaving little for food, medicine, childcare and other basic needs.
- Fifty-one percent of renters reported that they were concerned about eviction and 64 percent feared that their deposits would not be returned when they moved out.
- Low-income residents of color and families with young children are the most insecure about housing, reporting a higher rent burden, fears of displacement and concerns about habitability. Among renters with young children, 83 percent were worried about rent increases and 75 percent worried about being able to pay their rent.
“Everyone needs a safe, stable and healthy place to call home, and this is especially important for young children,” said Rhea Elina Laughlin, Community Engagement Program Officer for First 5 Contra Costa. “Young children’s early experiences are critical to their future learning and well-being. These egregious rent increases and lack of affordable housing in Antioch have only worsened the city’s deep-seated racial and economic inequities and jeopardize the well-being of our children and the community at large. Local tenant protection policies are urgently needed.”
More than four in five renters and landlords surveyed said they want the city of Antioch to take action to limit annual rent increases, prevent unfair evictions, create pathways to homeownership and build more affordable housing. For Antioch residents, specifically low-income families of color struggling with unaffordable rents, housing instability is a daily concern. In addition to rent increases and eviction threats, families face harassment from landlords and property managers. Without protections, families are forced to make the impossible choice of living in uninhabitable conditions or facing homelessness.
Building on decades of resident organizing and housing justice advocacy, the report includes policy recommendations for Antioch leaders. Policies called for in the report include:
- Rent Control Establishment,
- Demand just cause for the eviction, and
- Pass ordinances against harassment of tenants.
Advocates of the 22nd day action will demand that Antioch city leaders enact these policy recommendations. On June 14, the Concord City Council approved a new policy against harassment of tenants. The policy establishes new protections for tenants facing abusive landlords who threaten, harass and intimidate them. Owners who violate the policy can be fined.
Community members at the rally spoke out for the inclusion of strong tenant protections in the Housing Element of the city’s General Plan. The housing element, which is only updated once every eight years, outlines how the city will meet its housing goals and is an opportunity to address past inequalities.
The full report “Antioch CHANGE: A Community Housing Assessment of Needs, Gaps and Equity in Antioch, California” will be available here on June 22 at 9:00 a.m.
About the East County Regional Group:
The East County Regional Group is a volunteer parent advocacy group working to make East Contra Costa healthier, safer, and more equitable for young children and families. The ECRG is sponsored by the First 5 Contra Costa Community Engagement and Advocacy Program.
About the Contra Costa Top 5:
First 5 Contra Costa helps young children start school healthy, nourished and ready to learn by investing in child-focused programs and activities during their first five years, the most important time in a child’s development.
About the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action:
Action by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) is a statewide, member-led, grassroots community organization working with more than 16,000 members throughout California. ACCE is dedicated to raising the voices of everyday Californians, neighborhood by neighborhood, to fight for the policies and programs we need to improve our communities and create a brighter future.
About Healthy & Active Before 5 (HAB45):
Healthy & Active Before 5 (HAB45) is a Contra Costa collaboration that promotes health equity through local policy and environmental change to support the health and well-being of young children and their families. HAB45 provides the Regional Groups with technical assistance and data support.
About Urban Habitat:
Urban Habitat (UH) works to democratize power and promote equitable policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities of color. Through strategic partnerships, UH supports increasing power and capacity in low-income communities and communities of color.