StayHoused L.A. County: Promoting Tenant’s Rights
Los Angeles renters have faced a housing crisis for many years, but it exponentially intensified with the onset of COVID-19. Over half a million people are estimated to have lost jobs in just the first six months of the pandemic, making rent even harder to pay. Although lawmakers passed several emergency policies to protect renters during the pandemic, untangling these protections and ensuring that renters know their rights became paramount. That’s why Liberty Hill partnered with longtime housing justice organizations, legal service providers, and the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to launch Stay Housed L.A.
Stay Housed L.A. educates tenants on their rights and connects them to legal service providers who ensure that they are being fairly represented. The program includes targeted phone and text outreach to neighborhoods most vulnerable to eviction and displacement, know-your-rights virtual workshops, rental assistance, and free legal services for qualifying tenants. Since the launch of the program more than 180,000 Angelenos have been connected with services and information—from the chronically ill senior who was served an eviction notice at the worst possible time to a tenant whose landlord was damaging her door and raising her utility fees in a show of illegal intimidation. We’ve also worked with dozens of people who are experiencing homelessness, including a woman who was hospitalized for coronavirus and had nowhere to go once released. No matter how someone enters our program they are connected with a trusted tenant organization.
This is only the beginning. Stay Housed L.A. was designed and implemented by the Renters’ Right to Counsel–LA coalition (RTC), whose goal is to win a codified right to counsel across LA County. This would mean every renter facing eviction has access to legal representation. RTC is also placing a focus on tenant organizing, because it will take an empowered base of tenants across the county to build the people power needed to end unnecessary eviction and displacement for all.