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Consolidation of eviction cases will cause more homelessness

by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board has strongly urged the Court to postpone the proposed reorganization plan that would consolidate eviction cases in Hayward that would result in more homelessness, until more options have been considered with all parties concerned.

Consolidation of eviction cases may cause more homelessness

By Lynda Carson - February 5, 2016

Oakland - It appears that the low-income communities of Oakland and Berkeley have been placed at further risk of homelessness if a proposal to consolidate eviction cases in Hayward takes effect.

The Alameda County Superior Court reorganization proposal by Assistant Presiding Judge Morris Jacobson, http://tinyurl.com/hps7pgv , which includes the proposal to consolidate eviction cases in Hayward, will severely restrict poor, elderly, and disabled tenants’ access to justice, according to the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.

According to public documents from the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, http://tinyurl.com/zgab8mw , “Oakland and Berkeley are at the epicenter of the housing crisis in Alameda County. With roughly 46% of the county’s tenants and home to over half the county’s individuals in poverty, there are more evictions in Berkeley and Oakland than anywhere else in Alameda County.”

In a proposed December 14, 2015, letter from the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board to Judge Jacobson, the board points out that the Hayward Courthouse is not easy to reach by way of public transportation for tenants residing in Oakland and Berkeley, and will have a disparate impact on our county’s most vulnerable population.

With such tight deadlines to meet, the consequence of being an hour late to a court date in an unlawful detainer action can make the difference between being housed or losing one’s home by default judgement, according to the board.

The proposal to move the self-help center to Hayward will also make it much more difficult for the poor, disabled, and low-income communities of color in Oakland and Berkeley to fight against evictions, if they try to represent themselves.

Margot Bushel, a professor of medicine at the University of California, in San Francisco, has conducted a study of 350 homeless persons in Oakland since July 2013, http://tinyurl.com/j9e9d5x , and claims that California has the highest housing costs. She also says that it should not be a surprise that Oakland has a large homeless population, and that many of them are elderly, who became homeless late at life.

Rent hikes in California have also outpaced the national average during every month of 2015, according to ApartmentList.com, http://tinyurl.com/zccoulx . Of the ten most expensive cities in California, San Francisco is at the top of the list followed by Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Palo Alto, West Hollywood, Berkeley, Pacifica, San Mateo, San Rafael, and Foster City.

Another recent survey that was reported on by the East Bay Express, also reveals that the fair market rents in Oakland have almost doubled since 2011. Additionally, in the top ten cities throughout the nation with the greatest rent increases during recent years, Oakland tops the list according to Smartasset.com, http://tinyurl.com/z2m7roh , surpassing San Francisco, New York City, San Jose, Houston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Chicago.

The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board has strongly urged the Court to postpone the proposed reorganization plan that would consolidate eviction cases in Hayward that would result in more homelessness, until more options have been considered with all parties concerned.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com

>>>>>
Tenant & housing activists urge people to contact Judge Jacobson

Write directly to Judge Jacobson and tell him that the community at large in Oakland and Berkeley totally disagrees with the decision to move the eviction case system to Hayward, because it will result in more homelessness!

Our most vulnerable community members in Oakland and Berkeley may be deprived of their most basic constitutional and human rights, if the plan to consolidate eviction cases in Hayward occurs.

Send your letters ASAP to:

Hon. Morris Jacobson
Presiding Judge
Alameda County Superior Court
Dept. 1
1225 Fallon Street
Oakland, CA 94612

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