Agenda for a Just Future,Economic & Housing Justice,Grantee Spotlight

Faces of the Movement: Carolina Rodriguez

April 7, 2020
By raymond

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Local resident Carolina Rodriguez, who was born and raised in East L.A., became a key figure in the local battle for rent control. Despite multiple attempts by her landlord to evict her and her family after increasing their rent more than $500, Carolina remains in her home in East L.A. today due to the efforts of Unincorporated Tenants United, which Liberty Hill helped coordinate. They worked tirelessly to organize and empower a collective of tenants, including Carolina, to stand up for their rights.

Carolina’s fight is emblematic of the struggle of thousands of tenants across the region.

“They told me I couldn’t fight back. But then I got help from Union de Vecinos, the Los Angeles Tenants Union, and the Los Angeles Center for Community Law and Action. I found out that I wasn’t alone. That this was happening all around. Others told me that without rent control I had no legal protections, but these organizations encouraged me to fight and to change the law. The support I got gave me the strength to organize my building and fight back.”

On the morning of the vote, Carolina spoke at a press conference hosted by tenants-rights champion Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, where she told her story to dozens of media outlets and supporters crowded on the steps of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration. She emphasized that this fight was not just about her individual battle, but the fight for fair rents and housing across L.A. County.

“Without renter protections my landlord could continue to drive me into court and destroy my life and my family’s life. I knew my community needed rent control for stability. I wasn’t fighting for myself anymore, I was fighting on behalf of my entire community.”

“ Never doubt the power of sharing your story.” –Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, District 3

The Road to Rent Control in L.A.

For decades, hundreds of thousands of tenants in unincorporated L.A. County had virtually no protection against exorbitant rent increases and unfair evictions, which fundamentally undermined their housing stability. The movement for change faced fierce, unrelenting, and well-funded opposition from the corporate landlord lobby. Thanks to the power of Liberty Hill-supported and tenant-led organizing and a growing housing justice movement across the state, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a motion for permanent rent stabilization in Unincorporated L.A. County, while the state passed an
historic anti-rent-gouging bill.

More than 400,000 tenants who live in unincorporated L.A. will now enjoy:

  • Regulated rents on apartments and multi-family units built before 1995
  • Fair eviction protections for all rental units
  • A diverse and representative rent board
  • An online rent registry to monitor rents throughout the county
  • Adequate relocation funding if tenants are evicted through no fault of their own

To learn more about Liberty Hill’s recent successes over the past year, click here to view our 2019 Impact Report.