After one of the longest rent strikes in Oakland history, ACCE Members collectively organized in their 14-Unit Fruitvale building claim victory and celebrate after the owner officially sells the apartment complex to the Oakland Community Land Trust!!!! The sale is part of a growing movement of renters across California pushing for our homes to be taken off the failed speculative, profit-driven, housing market entirely and put into democratic ownership where it can be made permanently affordable. In multiple major cities across California, including Oakland, renters are pushing for Tenant and Community Opportunity to Purchase Acts (TOPA or COPA) to combat the spike in real estate speculation that has caused unprecedented displacement and homelessness. The tenants are elated and urge fellow renters everywhere to not merely tolerate slum conditions, landlord harassment, or to live in the constant fear of displacement - but to organize their homes into land trusts where their homes can become safe, healthy, democratically controlled and permanently affordable.
Because #HousingIsAHumanRight and when we fight we win!
“I didn’t realize until I started door knocking that my apartment has some of the worst conditions in the building. Fighting alone against the building management, I felt hopeless and depressed. It felt good to get together with other tenants and start organizing. When people are isolated, we don’t know whether we are being treated fairly. Now I know that when we are united, and stay strong and resilient, that we can win!” said Maria Montes de Oca, ACCE member
“The landlord finally buckled and decided to do the right thing. We are so happy - we know that it was the right thing to rent strike and that organizing works!” – Francisco Perez, ACCE member
“I am relieved and elated. I want to invite the community: do not be afraid. Do not give up hope. Join ACCE and get organized. Yes we can!” – Jesus Alvares, ACCE member
Massive shout out to all the people along the way that made this victory a reality. First and foremost to the tenants that had the courage to confront their landlord and demand to live in safe, dignified, and affordable housing. While many Oaklanders are pushed out by high rents, harassment and threats of eviction, the families at 29th Ave refused to accept the status quo and demanded the respect they are due. There were many pitfalls along the way in this multi-year campaign, and even when the situation appeared hopeless, the tenants never gave up. Also, massive shout out to the ACCE organizers past and present who helped - to Justin Tombolesi, Isreal Lepiz, Nicole Deane, Gabby Vivas, Norma Sanchez, and Grace Martinez. And massive shout out to Councilmember Carroll Fife who supported the campaign as former Director of ACCE Oakland and who helped negotiate with the landlord to bring him to the table. Big thank you to the folks at Oakland Community Land Trust who went to bat for the tenants over and over with repeated offers to buy the building over multiple years against an unpredictable landlord - including Steve King, Felix Linck-Frenz, Jen Collins, Alex Acuña and the whole board at OakCLT. And lastly, shout out to ACCE Legal and specifically Jackie Zaneri, for her help along the way as well!