Parent Advocates Release New Report Highlighting Need for Stronger Tenant Protections in Antioch
Endless Worries About Landlords Raising Rents, 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 and affordable housing and an immediate stop to exorbitant rent increases. Low-income tenants at Delta Pines Apartments and Casa Blanca Apartments, two 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 Delta Pines Apartments while holding signs and chanting.
Residents of Delta Pines and Case Blanca aren’t alone in facing sudden rent increases. A new survey of Antioch residents released today finds rent hikes and housing instability are widespread across the city. Seventy-nine percent of renters report feeling worried about rent increases, while 68 percent worried about being able to pay their current rent.
Local parent advocates with the East County Regional Group (ECRG), sponsored by First 5 Contra Costa, led the community-based 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, fears of eviction, and landlord harassment.
Speakers shared data from the survey showing the need for tenant protections for Antioch families. The event will be in coordination with ACCE’s statewide day of action to highlight the abuses of corporate landlords.
“Housing insecurity is a threat to our basic humanity,” said Rocheall Pierre, an Antioch resident and an active member of ECRG who will speak at the rally. “Living in Antioch challenges every parent, no matter where they’re from or what their income is, to find a secure and dignified place to raise their family. I live in a corporate-owned building, and I’m paying $1,800 for a one-bedroom apartment for me and my son. After rent, there’s not enough left over to cover emergency expenses. I’ve had to get payday loans, which puts me further in debt. Antioch’s housing system is broken, and it prioritizes landlords over local families.”
The new report “Antioch CHANGE: A Community Housing Assessment of Needs, Gaps and Equity in Antioch, California” is a partnership between ECRG, First 5 Contra Costa, Healthy & Active Before 5, and Urban Habitat. The survey responses were gathered in 2021, and the process was guided by residents’ leadership and community-based participatory research principles. Though the survey was available to complete online, 81 percent of responses were collected one-on-one by ECRG leaders using tablets and paper surveys. Survey promotion included social media, phone banking, door to door canvassing, and talking 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, respondents paid 63 percent of their monthly income on rent, leaving little for food, medicine, childcare, and other basic necessities.
- Fifty-one percent of renters reported worrying about eviction and 64 percent worried their deposits would not be returned when they moved.
- Low-income residents of color and families with young children are most housing insecure, reporting higher rent burden, fears of displacement, and habitability concerns. Among renters with young children, 83 percent worried about rent increases and 75 percent worried about being able to pay the rent at all.
“Everyone needs a safe, stable, healthy place to call home, and this is especially important for young children,” said Rhea Elina Laughlin, Community Engagement Program Officer at First 5 Contra Costa. “Young children’s early experiences are critical for their future learning and well-being. These egregious rent hikes and Antioch’s lack of affordable housing has only made worse the city’s deeply rooted racial and economic inequities and endangers the well-being of our children and the community as a whole. Local tenant protection policies are urgently needed.”
More than four in five renters and homeowners surveyed said they want the city of Antioch to take action to limit annual rent increases, prevent unjust 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 threats of evictions, families face harassment from landlords and property managers. Without protections, families are forced to make the impossible choice of living in uninhabitable conditions or face homelessness.
Building on decades of resident organizing and advocacy for housing justice, the report includes policy recommendations for Antioch leaders. The policies called for in the report include:
- Establishing rent control,
- Requiring just cause for eviction, and
- Passing tenant anti-harassment ordinances.
Advocates at the action on the 22nd will demand that Antioch city leaders enact these policy recommendations. On June 14th the Concord City Council passed a new tenant anti-harassment policy. The policy puts in place new protections for renters facing abusive landlords who threaten, harass, and intimidate them. Landlords 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 inequities.
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 East County Regional Group:
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 First 5 Contra Costa’s Community Engagement and Advocacy Program.
About First 5 Contra Costa:
First 5 Contra Costa helps young children start school healthy, nurtured and ready to learn by investing in programs and activities focused on children during their first five years—the most important time in children’s development.
About The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action:
The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action is a grassroots, member-led, statewide community organization working with more than 16,000 members across 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 collaborative advancing health equity through local policy and environmental changes 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 advance equitable policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities of color. Through strategic partnerships, UH supports increasing the power and capacity in low-income communities and communities of color.