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Fresno renters, it is time to organize for a guarantee of a clean, safe, affordable home

Fresno Renters: It Is Time to Organize for a Guarantee of a Clean, Safe, Affordable Home

By Alexandra Alvarado, Rain Chamberlin and Hannah Ellsworth—Aug. 3, 2021

Earlier this year, Fresnoland revealed the case of Manchester Arms, a Fresno apartment complex where residents were living in horribly unsafe conditions.

Inez Hernandez, a mother living in the complex, did what tenants are supposed to do when landlords fail to uphold their end of the bargain, which is maintaining their units in habitable conditions. She called city code enforcement. Despite multiple calls for help, the city did not enforce deadlines on the landlord, and she and her children were left to live in those conditions until they were evicted. Inez has a 7-year eviction record because our housing and legal systems were designed to protect property rights and our government continues to uphold them at the expense of renters.

As typically happens with injustice, when the story becomes public, it prompts outrage and action from the city. But contrary to the city attorney’s odd claim that this was a “unique” case, these experiences are neither unusual nor new in Fresno. We’ve been here before. Many of us organized against blighted vacant properties and slumlording and pushed Fresno to pass the Rental Housing Improvement Act in 2016. To say we are frustrated to see Fresno cycling through the same problems that leave families living in misery, falling into poverty, and facing being homeless is an understatement. Therefore we are delivering the following call to action.

To our city’s leaders: you’re on notice. We expect accountability, urgency, and evidence that you are taking unprecedented, bold, and courageous action to transform the long-term consequences of our broken housing system.

But we did not write this for our city leaders. We have done enough of that. Instead, we write for the renters and everyone who understands that our fates are intertwined and that we have a shared responsibility to unite and transform our housing system toward one that ensures everyone can live in a safe and secure home. We all know someone who’s been impacted by constant, recurring housing issues. The housing crisis affects us all.

To the thousands of renters in Fresno: we write this for you, for us, and for everyone whose loved ones and neighbors have been impacted by the housing crisis. We see you — sacrificing your well-being to keep a roof over your head, sitting on edge as the first of the month approaches, working around the mold and leaky pipes, trying to keep your families together and stay positive for your children. We see you, we hear you, some of us are you.

We, the members of the Community Cares project with Faith in the Valley, who all carry our own housing stories full of trauma, triumph, insecurity, and survival, are calling on renters across the Central Valley to see and support one another and work together to realize a shared vision.

Read more at The Fresno Bee.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Good afternoon, my name is Amanda and i am reaching out in hopes that someone can help direct my family w/ whom to reach out to or whom can help us in this urgent time of need…
    Homeless over 2yrs, AFTER an unfair and unlawful eviction case represented by Steven Hrdlicka (a landlord attorney whom was sued not once but twice for his unlawful practice), and witness Tammy Weaver (an ex- Hype/ Drug Addict that manages Garden Square Apts) whom has no problem lying on the stand to protect her own a**
    because her negligence is what caused this matter in the 1st place… Technically, this matter should have never been an eviction “since u cant evict someone from a place they no longer reside at…?”, and since its illegal to accept payment for a unit NOT Up to Code?…
    But if you can afford legal representation, you can… “I guess if your a Landlord ONLY Attorney/ Part-Time Judge that has a close relationship w/ the Courts, understands the Landlord/ Tenant Laws to the point where you can manipulate, twist & Fabricate the Factual Evidence to your advantage and rest assured that the Stand-In Judge will accommodate whatever outcome you seek… Then Yes It Is Possible to evict a party that vacated before this court hearing took place! And Yes It Is Possible to get away w/ Illegally collecting rent for 3yrs on a unit that was NOT up to code, but rather a Electrical Fire Hazard that you were aware of but refused to address for over 3yrs (that is, until 3days before court) in which your own maintenance man rigged the breakers himself…” (Despite the ACTUAL evidence and FACTS brought forward) You can alter FACTS, you can abuse your power w/ unlawful practice and not only contribute to the housing crises but create them as well!
    Housing Authority has already caused us to lose out on one opportunity in April 2021, when we had a 3bdrm County voucher , but by the grace of God we were selected for a City voucher a few months ago which allowed it to rollover… Despite these barriers we face, we have been consistent and active in our housing search of a property owner that would be willing to overlook our past eviction. Again we have succeeded in finding one, but now Housing Authority is once derailing us from moving forward and securing stable housing. Their public announcements and media coverage states that they are “Saving Grace” and resolving the housing crises in Fresno County, which is a complete contradiction to what’s really going on (for most voucher holders)!?
    We have a 2bdrm HCV sect8. City voucher w/ a max amount of $1137, but they are trying to low ball the prop manager by offering $1090 for rent despite his original asking price of $1200, overlooking his willingness to compromise by accepting the $1137 max allotment. Housing authority completely disregarding the hardship of us even finding a landlord willing to work w/ us, overlooking the housing crises fresno residents already face, and rather than helping as they put out in the media, they are creating more barriers and hardship!
    It seems as if they are trying to keep us homeless and only house few for public advertising purposes…?!? Where do we go from here, who do we reach out to? We’ve been in 4-5 homeless Shelters, currently reside in El Puente Emergency Shelter with our 3 & 4yr old, we’ve utilized all resources available to us reached out to countless entities in hopes that someone could help, now we don’t know where to turn.


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