Filipinos join Vallejo, Calif. tenants in protesting rapid rent increase

VALLEJO, CA — Filipino tenants and their neighbors gathered in front of Vallejo City Hall, requesting help from their elected leaders.

In late May, these residents of the Strawberry Hill apartments were informed that their rent will be essentially doubled after the complex was purchased by the San Francisco-based Reliant Group.

Tenants say the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in that complex is between 850-950 dollars a month.

With the increase, they’re supposed to $1,520-1,700 a month per unit.

If they cannot pay the increase, they will have 90 days to leave.

According to the tenants, more than half of the tenants are low income and elderly immigrants.

“I do not know where to go that’s why we are here begging to help us. Two months is too soon. We cannot even focus on whether to work or not because of this problem,” said resident Roquieta Villenas.

“It’s hard for us to look for a new place at this time and for that amount we cannot stay either. Our income is fixed and we are not that rich,” said resident Epifania Prado Cruz.

Here, the group will meet with a representative of Vallejo’s Fil-Am mayor Bob Sampayan.

According to an article in the Times-Hearld, Sampayan says that the rent increase was a legal but unethical move on the part of reliant.

After meeting with people from reliant and the California Apartment Association — Sampayan was able to slow the process down and remains hopeful that the firm will reconsider the rent increases.

Filipino organizartion Migrante Norcal is using this situation to push for Vallejo and the state to pass for more rent control.

“Vallejo used to be where San Francisco folks go because they’re being gentrified and now we’re seeing our kababayans go as far as elk grove because there’s really no place that’s affordable.”

Elk Grove is located two hours north of San Francisco.

Meanwhile, tenants have been informed that increase will begin July 1st.

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