Thursday, May 24, 2012

2012-05-24 "Landlords cannot evict tenants without good cause from publicly subsidized low-income housing" by Lynda Carson
 Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at]
 Housing News -- A recent stunning court victory for an elderly 70 year old disabled "tenant activist" named Sharon Green, has resulted in a huge court victory against evictions throughout California. Evictions that often result in homelessness for residents of so-called affordable housing units, that are being subsidized by local governments.
 According to the National Housing Law Project, "The California Court of Appeal for the Second District held that constitutional due process applies to an eviction from a housing unit supported by a redevelopment agency, prohibiting the tenant’s eviction without good cause."
 In other words, landlords in California cannot evict renters residing in publicly subsidized housing that is funded by local governments, without a good cause, according to a unanimous ruling from the California Court of Appeal.
 According to the April 23, California Court of Appeal ruling, this means that in addition to large cities that struggled hard to enact "just cause eviction protections," such as Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, low-income renters in publicly subsidized housing that is funded by local governments in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and throughout cities and rural areas of California, are now also protected by just cause eviction protections.
 The stunning court ruling reversed an eviction against the 70 year-old disabled activist, who believed that her eviction was done in retaliation for exercising her protected rights of free speech, freedom of association, and her right to petition the government.
 Ms. Green wants to return home as soon as possible; "My cat and I have survived rain, snow, lightening and extreme cold," she said. "Everyday is a struggle with the elements, or the predators and insects. We both just want to go home."
 After being wrongly evicted over 2 years ago, Ms. Green has been exposed to harsh weather, and has lived in a tent at times, and sometimes in a run down trailer at different campgrounds.
 She originally moved into the 157 unit Heritage Oaks Senior Apartments in Glendora in 2007, and during 2009, Ms. Green fought back against a 90 Day Notice To Quit. It was an eviction notice that did not give a reason for the eviction, and she lost against the eviction in court, but won the case upon appeal. Ms. Green believed that she could not be evicted without a good cause, and according to the ruling by the California Court of Appeal for the Second District, she was right.
 The Heritage Oaks Senior Apartments affordable housing complex is subsidized by the City of Glendora, and the attorneys for Ms. Green believe that there was a pattern of retaliatory evictions against tenants at the housing complex, for making complaints with the city against the management company of the property (Anchor Pacifica Management Company).
 Ms. Green was active in her building, and lobbied city officials for better conditions, and sought more subsidies to assist the tenants in her housing complex, during a time that the city was trying to eliminate the rent subsidies given to tenants in her building. The Redevelopment Agency planned to cut off subsidies to each apartment that became vacant. Getting rid of Ms. Green, meant that the Agency would save money.
 Since Ms. Green always payed her rent, and did not receive any notices for lease violations, her attorneys believed that she faced retaliation for exerting her constitutionally protected rights, and for trying to convince the city to keep subsidizing the rents in her building.
 According to the attorneys for Ms. Green, the court of appeal ruled that the receipt of rent subsidies and other assistance from Glendora's Redevelopment Agency meant that Heritage Oaks Senior Apartments, is a joint venture with the City to further the governments roll of providing affordable housing to those in need. Therefore, both the state and federal constitution gave the tenants a property right that could not be terminated without a good reason.
 The court reversed the eviction because the landlord did not have a good cause reason to evict Ms. Green at the time of her eviction. This ruling may affect over 150,000 rental units receiving subsidies by local governments throughout California.
 "This ruling is significant because it requires private landlords receiving local, public money to give very-low and low-income families the stability they need to get jobs and raise their families," said Maria Palomares of Neighborhood Legal Services, who argued the case on behalf of the legal aid groups. "It extends critical protections to tenants of city-subsidized housing."
 A May 15, 2012, press release tells how Ms. Green lived in harsh weather after being wrongly evicted from her housing, and mentions that Ms. Green had legal assistance from her attorney's Maria Palomares, and Andrew Radel of the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, including attorney Jolene Larimore, and legal assistance from the Western Center on Law and Poverty, with additional legal assistance from Catherine Bishop of the National Housing Law Project, and the Coalition for Economic Survival.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Occupy your home!

2012-05-23 "Home Occupation in Woodland Stops Eviction" []
In Woodland, the occupation of a foreclosed home by members of Occupy groups and others have caused the bank to grant a 45 day grace period. According to a report by News 10 on why the home went into foreclosure []:
[begin excerpt]
The Ponce Family bought their home on Paradise Valley Drive in 2008, but began struggling to hang on to it after Heriberto Ponce lost his job in construction. The family said they began working with Wells Fargo Bank to restructure the mortgage through the HAMP program. But when Heriberto Ponce's signature was missing on a key document, they said the bank told them they needed to re-submit loan documents. In the middle of that process, his wife Alma Ponce said Wells Fargo sold the deed to Specialized Loan Services. Activists said that happened because Wells Fargo had begun the foreclosure process at the same time the family applied for the modification - a process activists said is known as "dual tracking." "And when the bank starts modifying the home loan, they, at the same time start foreclosure on the house, unbeknownst to the homeowners," said Occupy Sacramento activist Cathy Grahnert. 
The Ponces said they are just one of many Hispanic or mostly Spanish-speaking families in the Woodland area that have fallen victim to problems with their mortgages through miscommunication or misunderstanding with banks. "I may be the first one here in Woodland, but they did it to many people. I was the only person standing up for our rights, and I'm just doing everything for my kids," Alma Ponce said tearfully on her front porch.
[end excerpt]
According to the Daily Democrat []:
[begin excerpt]
Around a dozen members of Occupy Woodland, Sacramento and UC Davis camped out Monday night on the front lawn of an east Woodland home awaiting sheriff deputy's to arrive at 6 Tuesday to evict the family of six. By 7:30 this morning, however, there was no sign of a deputy coming to evict the Ponce family, whose home at 1543 Pleasant Valley Drive had been foreclosed on by Wells Fargo Bank last January over a paperwork error. According to Alma Ponce, she and her husband attempted to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy Monday, which would deem the home untouchable, but were told by sheriffs that they would still be evicted from their home this morning. According to Occupy supporter David Madriz, who helps the family with translation, Assistant City Counsel Dan Cederborg assured the family last night after 5 p.m. that the bankruptcy stay would be upheld after all, buying the family another 45 days to work out further legalities.
[end excerpt]
Occupiers who were interviewed by Modesto Anarcho over the phone stated that on the same block there have been several other foreclosures, but the neighborhood is strongly behind the Ponce family who is occupying their home. We will be covering this story as it develops with interviews hopefully soon to follow. But until then, we wish the Ponce family and those occupying out in Woodland all the best and above all - victory!

Solidarity with your neighbor!

2012-06-03 "Vigil for Our Neighbors in Foreclosure"
Sunday, June 3, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Occupy Petaluma has a weekly vigil for people facing foreclosure and eviction and for homeowners whose mortgages are underwater. We gather together to share our stories and discuss solutions. We hope these vigils will raise awareness about the destructive effects of the foreclosure crisis on our community.
Walnut Park, D St. & Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Solidarity with yout neighbor: Samson's Unit shelter

Shaun Polly, founder of Samson's Unit, writes:
I put this out back in December 2011.
We have never received help from a church or organization.
We continue to hold down Samson's Unit with little food, payment plans on bills, and the risk of being evicted by Fannie Mae because they want to sell the house out right.
Every Day i Pray Christ returns and destroys everything in this world because all have gone astray!

2011-12-21 "I have a system that can solve the Vallejo Homeless Epidemic" by Shaun Polly from "Samson's Unit" men's shelter
 We got two more guys in today. That's a total of four men at Samson's Unit. The two guys that we took in today are former Marines. One 30 and the other 25. They are both really awsome brothers. I have been talking with them getting to know them alot better. I found out today that our eldest resident Mr. Yancey age 53 lost his wife a year ago and lost his home in a fire recently in El Sobrante. Before Mr. Yancey was here he biked 12 miles a day to Mare Island where he works at Blu Homes. We are able to hook him up with rides now and make him breakfast where he once did not have before work. At Samson's Unit Mens Sober Living Home we are able to not only help out 4 amazing guys so far but three of them are Veterans. The lord is really starting to move it is amazing to see this mens' home starting to form! Three of the guys we have here we have taken out of the Christian Help Center. CHC is Vallejo's only Homeless Shelter. Months back i got CHC on video saying there is not enough room for all the homeless there. You can find that video under Freedom Edibles videos. I truly know that i can change Vallejo for good and put a dent in the homeless epidemic. As well as the Crack Cocaine epidemic! I have been going by the homeless shelter everyday for a week now since we have had Samson's Unit open. I have discovered there are alot of Sober men down on there luck only needing a little encouragement. Only needing a place they can call home. I truly know we have a great system that is founded on the Love of Jesus Christ. I have done nothing but love love love these brothers that are here. I see the love of Christ coming out of there souls because of it Praise be to God the most high most most most high!!! I feel more complete everyday working with the homeless and getting them off the streets of Vallejo, Ca. The streets of Vallejo are as dangerous as they come. We have one of the highest homicide rates in the nation! I have also discovered there is a brother at the shelter who has a terminal illness. He gets about 600 bucks a month he needs a apartment or his own space. He has Sclerosis of the Liver! He knows the lord Jesus Christ he just needs help with finding his own place. Another discovery is Vallejo has alot of Homeless Mental People running around with no where to go. The CHC has no where for people with Mental Problems to go. I cant take them here around men who are recovering from drugs and alcohol. But we can run another mens' home that is dedicated to the homeless men of Vallejo who have mental problems. It's gonna take some help to do it can't do it alone. Eventually I know God will help me to accomplish this. I have much much bigger goals of having Women's Homes And Family Homes. Who knows maybe God will eventually bless me with a fully operative Homeless Shelter one day? I truly know in time with the proper help i can get over 90% of Homeless people off the streets of Vallejo. I know what you are saying 90% thats too high a number. In 5 days i have taken 3 guys out of the Vallejo Homeless Shelter. It has taken that long because nobody wants to donate or help. With the proper donations and help i truly know i can make the Homeless shelter empty. In this system God gave me i truly know i can all-most eliminate the Homeless epidemic of Vallejo,Ca. And have a spot for any Homeless person housing Woman, Men, and Children with what ever issues they have. Through Sober living, Special treatment for the Mental Ill, Victims of Violence, and alot of other bases i didn't mention.
God Bless Us all and a good night from Samsons Unit Mens Sober Living Home.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Occupy Vallejo at the steps of City Hall

2012-05-02 "Nearly 40 rally at Vallejo City Hall steps in Occupy event" by Jessica A. York from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
Occupy Vallejo's May Day rally on the steps of City Hall drew at its peak more than three dozen people demanding the right to equality.
What they got was not only some attention, but even a mooning.
Standing in a loose ring outdoors, the informal gathering allowed a diverse group of speakers to step forward and share particular issues of concern such as workers' rights, politics and housing.
The hour-long rally was peaceful, with no interaction between protesters and occasionally seen police officers in the area.
Vallejo resident Roger Wilkins, a Teamsters Local 315 member, said Tuesday's event, timed for International Workers Rights Day, came after several efforts to combine two Occupy groups in Vallejo proved unsuccessful.
"(So) we just put out this call to action," said Wilkins, who heard that about four people rallied in Vallejo for last year's May Day. "As you can see, we're growing. Call this a fumbling first attempt. But we're not going anywhere -- we live here."
Wilkins said he and others are hoping to start a dialogue among the "99 percent" -- a reference to the vast majority of the population not in the highest income bracket and typically targeted in the national Occupy movement.
Vallejo's gathering drew residents young and old, as well as fellow Occupy protesters from Humboldt and Concord, who came to show solidarity with Vallejo's effort.
One speaker drew the crowd's attention to a nearby bank-foreclosed property auction, a regular sight on City Hall steps. The oft-changing auction group, typically wary of public attention, chuckled at derogatory comments sent their way but otherwise did not respond. However, one man in the small auction circle bent over and mooned the Occupy rally, slapping his own backside.
One Occupy Concord speaker, who came armed with a variety of small protest signs, said he was happy to see a healthy turnout in the "sleepy little town" of Vallejo.
Several members of the rally planned to drive to Oakland to join up with the larger May Day General Strike events being held there.

Occupy Vallejo's May Day rally event drew more than three dozen participants to the steps of Vallejo City Hall Tuesday morning. (Jessica A. York/Times-Herald)

2012-04-29 "'May Day' rally by Occupy Vallejo set for City Hall steps" from "Vallejo Times Herald"
Vallejo will make a national movement personal on Tuesday morning.
Occupy Vallejo, joined by several partner groups, has planned a public rally at 10:30 a.m. on the City Hall steps in support of a range of community issues like affordable education and housing, and respect for workers, organizers said.
The event is timed to May 1, or "May Day," a day of protest initially recognizing the support of an eight-hour work day and which has progressed to represent advocacy for workers' rights internationally.
"In Vallejo, we need to come together," Vallejo event organizer Joel Schor said. "There's people that have different issues in society -- people with housing issues, union issues, there's students. And a lot of time we're doing our thing separately from each other."
"A lot of time with the Occupy movement, people here just hear the 99 percent," Schor added. "We want to put out to the public some concrete demands that a lot of people are struggling right now in the United States."
The Vallejo activists are planning to join the national "Occupy" movement's general strike, and plan to caravan together to join up with their Occupy Oakland counterparts following the Vallejo rally, Schor said.
Rally organizers have not sought a permit from the city, Schor said, due to past event permit requests that purportedly have gone unheeded by police, and because the group will not be using amplified sound.
Featured speaker Shawn Polly, founder of a men's home at 130 Jordan St., is expected to air some of his personal difficulties at the rally. Polly said his men's home is housed in a bank-foreclosed home which he has leased for more than a year and stopped paying rent on due to a dispute with the property owner. In the meantime, he lacks a federal nonprofit designation or needed city permitting for his venture, and wants to open a homeless shelter. Polly said in an interview Friday that he has supported several important efforts, including ministering to drug addicts, homeless people and prostitutes on a street corner weekly, has launched a neighborhood watch group, gathered food for Haiti last year and plans plant a community garden. And yet, he said, he has been unable to secure financial or religious backing for his ventures.
"I would love for people to actually take me serious for once," said Polly, who also runs a medical marijuana edible service. "I would love for people to ask me how I would open a homeless shelter here, how I would help the homeless."
For more information on Tuesday's event, expected to run from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at 555 Santa Clara St., contact Schor at 980-6450.