By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
October 7, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO – Kababayans joined San Francisco tenants who took to the steps of City Hall recently to rally for the passing of Proposition G in the upcoming November elections.
Prop G aims at stopping realtors from buying apartment buildings, evicting tenants who already pay low monthly rent, renovating the building, and then renting the units at a much higher rate.
The protesters said real estate speculation negatively affects everyone from long-time homeowners to tenants in rent-controlled apartments.
They said this displaces people from their homes and drives up the cost of housing.
Filipino American Tony Robles said many Filipinos have become eviction victims.
“There’s been a 178 percent increase in Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco and that’s hitting long term rent controlled tenants, particularly elders and people with disability,” Robles said. “Seniors are afraid of being evicted even if they haven’t gotten an eviction notice because they know speculators are out there and they just want to buy and flip the buildings. And to them it’s like buying a toy.”
Teresa Dulalas is a single working parent who has been evicted through the Ellis Act three times and is now helping spread awareness about Prop G.
“This is just too much in what’s happening,” said Dulalas. “In just a span of just two, three short years, thousands of tenants have been evicted here in San Francisco. Tenants, they don’t care. It seems like they are just coming in to just profit for profit.”
Robles and Dulalas said realtors are already pumping millions of dollars into persuading voters to vote against the proposition.
They plan to rally in the neighborhoods throughout San Francisco to inform the people the truth behind Prop G.
“Everybody is affected, including Filipino Americans, and a lot of the issues also intertwined where Filipinos don’t know the laws surrounding around evictions and being a tenant,” Dulalas said. “It’s very important we been involved. I’m asking you to hear me out.”
But critics argue that a Prop G housing tax is not the answer to San Francisco’s housing affordability crisis.
They point out that San Francisco’s population is expected to reach one million by 2032 and they say Prop G providing incentives for owners to keep rental properties off the market will only make it harder to find affordable housing to rent or buy in the city.
You can contact Rommel Conclara at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.