By Rhea St. Julien
I hear of a new family being forced out of their current living situation by their landlord almost daily. Passionate posts on the parent email listservs in Bernal Heights and the Mission tell of families searching for housing in the most competitive market our city has ever seen. It doesn’t take much research to realize that these stories do not exist in a vacuum – it’s happening all over the city. No-fault evictions are up 85 percent over the last three years, and Ellis Act evictions, the California law that, when used by speculators, allows them to get around rent control protections and drive up rental prices, are up 175 percent this year alone.
It’s enough to make you throw up your hands in the face of this epidemic. Perhaps while we wait to see if the state law slowing Ellis Act evictions gets passed, we can agree not to rent or buy any unit where someone has been unfairly booted. This is exactly what The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project is asking you to do, with its Anti-Eviction Pledge, released this morning. It allows you to sign off that you will not "rent or buy any unit that is available as the result of a no-fault eviction" and includes a handy map that helps you search if the property you're looking at has a documented eviction at that address.
Erin McElroy of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project says her organization is “hoping to enact a boycott on speculators and investors that have previously evicted tenants. This is a tool you can use to determine if an eviction has occurred at a unit you are hoping to rent, and, if so, make the choice to rent elsewhere.”
Other ways to support housing justice are to participate in an upcoming direct action, like joining the march that is happening this Friday at 5 p.m. against the eviction of San Francisco teachers, starting at 20th and Dolores Streets. Eviction Free SF also meets on the first and third Wednesdays of every month at 6 p.m. in the Housing Rights of SF Office at 417 South Van Ness, and Erin invites everyone to come help plan further actions.
She urges you to sign the pledge to support housing justice, so, at the very least, you won’t be part of the problem.