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HOMELESS NOW? East Palo Alto Tenants Struggle to Pay The Rent Increases


THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE WHO HELPED MAKE THIS POSSIBLE: East Palo Alto Tenants and Community Members Youth United for Community Action Alvaro Alvarez Andrea Cancino Anna Turner Anthony Clarke Aylet Torres Bianca Rodriguez Carlos Castillo Charisse Domingo Dalila Adofo De’Antay Williams Elizabeth Garcia Flavio Garcia Francisco Preciado Giovanni Cruz Kalonji Nzinga Miriam Cruz Heilala Aholelei James Turner Ovier Mariscal Re’Anita Burns Sandra Cruz Sunia Sanft Thomas Williams Photography by: Re’Anita Burns Charisse Domingo Special thanks to the Hill-Snowden Foundation for funding this publication.

RESOURCES FOR TENANTS * East Palo Alto Rent Board Regular Meetings 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the Month, 7:00PM City Hall, 2415 University Avenue * East Palo Alto Rent Stabilization Program 2277 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, Ca 94303 (650) 853-3114 Administrator: Steven Ford * Fair Rent Now Coalition www.epa-tenants.org * East Palo Alto Council of Tenants PO Box 50142, East Palo Alto, CA 94303 (650) 322-9725 wbw@leland.stanford.edu * Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto 2117-B University Avenue, East Palo Alto (650) 326-6440 info@clsepa.org * Stanford Community Law Clinic 2117 University Ave., Suite A, East Palo Alto, CA (650)475-0560 jmbrodie@law.stanford.edu * Youth United for Community Action 2135 Clarke Avenue, East Palo Alto (650)322-9165 info@youthunited.net


This book is a compilation of the stories of tenants living in apartment units in East Palo Alto, CA owned by Page Mill Properties. From moldy walls to appliances that don’t work, many residents in these buildings live in some horrible conditions. Despite that, many of them are experiencing drastic rent increases. Many tenants have experienced rent increases anywhere up to 108%, which according to the rules and regulations of the Rent Stabilization Board in East Palo Alto, is illegal. The rent can only be raised up to 3.2% each year. Some residents have even seen their rents triple. Because East Palo Alto is a low-income community, most of the residents cannot afford to pay this increase. Some were evicted, some must make hard choices between literally having food on the table or having a roof over their heads. With the leadership of tenants, we at Youth United for Community Action (YUCA) are working towards addressing this issue. We have done so by attending rent board meetings and outreaching for petitions to help the tenants decrease their rent. We also helped to form a tenants association to inform tenants of their rights. We have also participated with the Fair Rent Now Coalition and East Palo Alto Council of Tenants and worked very closely with Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto and the Stanford Law Clinic to utilize legal strategies to support tenant rights. The purpose of this book is to expose Page Mill Properties for unjustly raising rents on the tenants. YUCA has tried, and is still trying to set up meetings with Page Mill to discuss the rent increase, but they continue to refuse -- to the point where they have called the police on mothers, children, and grandmothers when we attempted to deliver petitions to their offices. The true essence of this book is to provide a space for tenants to share their personal stories of how the rent increases literally hit home. Every day we outreach to tenants, we are told stories of how they are treated. While people can argue that it’s about money, or it’s about moldy apartments, or it’s about legal policies, at the end of the day, the one thing we hear the most from the tenants is that it’s about their dignity. It’s about the dreams they bear of wanting to provide a better and honest life for their children and themselves. We thank them for their courage to speak out knowing the risks they face. We thank them for coming out to rallies and walking miles to the Page Mill offices from East Palo Alto pushing strollers, their walkers, to deliver our unified message to Page Mill: you can’t beat us. This is what moves us as young people to fight even harder -- because we see in the people we meet the faces of our parents and grandparents. We see our friends and our community disappear and we are moved to take charge of our destiny, because like the words of Cesar Chavez and Barack Obama say, “Yes we can! ¡Si se puede!” We hope you are moved to act with us. Youth United for Community Action October 2008


Teresa Salazar, 39 years old, is a mother, wife, and an immigrant from Mexico. With her 3 children and her husband, she has lived in one of the Page Mill apartments for 5 years. To an outsider’s eye, this one-bedroom apartment is crammed with beds that double as family spaces and hallways that double as a dining room. But to her, it is home, filled with the dreams and loves of her family: pictures of horses that remind them of Mexico, a drum set that her son Alvaro practices with to play at church, and Lion King animals that make up her 3 year old Elly’s world. In contrast, she makes a living cleaning houses on the other side of the bridge in Palo Alto – houses that are spacious, filled with light, but very empty. Doing this she brings in roughly 1,200 a month, which supplements her husband’s job workteresa salazar • ing the nightshift at the local 7-11 at minimum wage.

Squeezed

“It is not that Page Mill offends me,” she says sitting at a make-shift office desk-slash-kitchen table. “They are just abusive towards tenants. Their main interest is money. They will say on the news that they will talk to tenants and they care about us, but if they do, why do they keep increasing the rent?” From December 2007 til October 2008, her rent went from $875 to $900 to $1074, a 19% increase – way above the legal increases allowed by the East Palo Alto Rent Stabilization Ordinance, and increased twice in a 12-month period. In addition to that, the property management has tightened the rules on tenants. For example, management has asked for a valid California license and a car registration just to get a parking spot within the complex. Teresa believes this is just another way to scare, or worse – tire – the community. “Why should we have to produce these documents when we already pay the rent? Who do they think they are? DMV? But that’s just another way they use to try to hurt us – especially immigrants.” But Teresa has not taken things lightly. Small but full of fire, Teresa has gone to meetings, informed herself and other tenants, spoken at rallies, and even missed work to attend court hearings to show the judge that people are concerned. She is not giving up because East Palo Alto is her home.

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That House Was Me... Alive •bianca rodriguez My name is Bianca Rodriguez, 12 years old, and I used to live in East Palo Alto at 1966 Euclid Avenue. To me, that house means a lot because it was somewhere I could trust others and somewhere I had friends. The whole two years I lived there were the best moments of my life because I had friends that cared for me. That house was me…alive. It was the heaven I wanted to be in, not somewhere strange where everybody hated you or didn’t know you well. There were no secrets with nobody; everybody was family not just neighbors. That house brought me back to life because before, I wasn’t like the moon, but when I first entered my house, I was brighter than the sun by itself. It had everything I wanted: trees around me, a little park to play, and the most wonderful thing was that it was my home. There are five people in total that live with me: my mom, Maria E., my dad, Antonio, my sister, Maria, my little brother, Anthony, and me, Bianca. Now I live in Redwood City because my dad couldn’t pay the rent increases by Page Mill Properties. My dad tried to fight the increases but they would treat him without respect. His dignity was worth more than that to him. Where I live now is great and everything, but is not my house. It will never be the same house as the other one because I was like a star up in the sky and now I am a star falling. I don’t feel the same way as I used to in my other home. It was if something inside of me was missing. But even though I live there, I still go to East Palo Alto Charter School. I choose to go there and make the hour and a half journey from Redwood City to East Palo Alto. East Palo Alto is my home, and where I wanna be.

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Living On Hold • artemio boitez Artemio lives at 430 East O’Keefe, apartment # 213. Like many other tenants in East Palo Alto, he has had to experience many hardships because of the rent increases. His rent has increased three times, starting at $728 all the way to $800 between the months of February 2008 and September 2008. Artemio is on a fixed income; he only receives $913 per month. He is in a state of incapacity; every penny he receives goes towards rent and medicine and the rent increases have hurt him tremendously. On top of that, he is raising a young family. Even though he is paying a lot of money for this apartment, it is hardly up to par. His kitchen is in bad shape. He has submitted many complaints to management about the condition of his kitchen, but he has yet to receive a response. Artemio is living with a six year old carpet that is completely unbearable; Artemio had to once again dig into his own pockets to replace the carpet in his apartment. Time and time again, Artemio has tried to make complaints to Page Mill, however they have been unresponsive. Often times, he is put on hold and the phone is never answered. He has left messages that have not been returned. Artemio can recall the time he sent in a request over three months ago; no one has responded to him yet. This is another example of how Page Mill Properties does not care about their tenants. Here we have a man who is dependent on government funding, who is subjected to living in a horrible situation. Page Mill refuses to communicate with him. Artemio understands that rent should only be increased one time per year, but he has experienced three. Artemio believes that Page Mill is only out to get money; he is not the only person who shares this experience or this opinion.

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Araceli Gaona is a tenant who resides at 2001 Manhattan Avenue. Araceli was illegally increased from her original rent of $900 to $1300, which is an increase of $400 dollars that amounts to 44 % when the legal Annual General Adjustment Rate is 3.2%. As a working mother, she finds it extremely difficult to balance her time with work and raising her child. Currently she works in San Francisco and has to pay for transportation costs to her job because she cannot afford a vehicle. In addition to paying for rent, utilities, transportation costs, food, and supporting her son, she is also contributing to help support her mother and siblings back in her home country because if she does not help them, they literally do not eat. She is really between a rock and a hard place. She cannot afford to call in sick for even one day because if she does not work, she does not get paid. Araceli has noted that several families have been uprooted and there are many vacancies in her complex. She asks “Why would a landlord, who is supposed to rely on receiving income from tenants as a means of profit, push people to leave?” She further adds that it does not make any sense to her.

• junior and araceli gaona

I Want To Be There For My Son

As a low income, working class, single mother, Araceli is deciding on whether she should take up another job to pay the rent, or spend time to raise her son. As she contemplates this, she tells us, “I want to be there for my son, and if that means we have to move, well first of all I do not know where we could move, but I would rather be there for my son.” The situation with Page Mill is forcing Araceli to decide between family or shelter and while Araceli says she will choose family, this is a situation that no one should be faced with.

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Choices Families Do Not Have to Make elda lilia gaona • My name is Elda Lilia Gaona and I live at 2001 Manhattan Avenue, Apt. #14. As of November 2008, my new rent will be $1300, which is a $400 increase. I will have lived in my apartment for one year as of July 2008. Previously I lived on the first floor of these apartments with my sister for 3 years. Currently, I live in a one bedroom apartment with my sister and her child. My monthly income is $1,000; in addition to the rent, I have to pay for food and essential bills, like electricity and water. Ever since I received a notice of increase by Page Mill Properties, now known as Woodland Park Management, I have been stressing out. I have gone countless nights without sleep due to my frustration of not knowing whether I will have enough to pay the rent. While my sister contributes to the rent, we still cannot afford to pay it. I now have two full-time jobs and because I have been saving up to pay the rent, we have no groceries in the refrigerator. There are days that we have food for dinner and days that there is no food because if I buy food, I won’t make the payment for rent. What makes this situation more difficult, frustrating, and depressing is that our living conditions within the apartment have not changed. When we make complaints about something in the apartment not working, we don’t hear back from them until several weeks, and in one case three months. I don’t understand what is going on with all of this because I receive letters from the landlord saying that they are putting lots of money into our apartments and that’s why they’re increasing the rent, but the inside of my apartment is still the same. For example, my stove looks like it is a fire hazard because it is really old. I definitely think it’s important to go to all the meetings to be informed about what is going on, but because I have two jobs it is very difficult. I’ve heard lots of different things about Page Mill’s intentions. While we don’t know for sure, I know that they are increasing the rents and many people are leaving or getting kicked out. I think that if they are forcing people to leave then the landlord should let them live in the apartments for free for two months. I do not think it is fair that I pay an extra $75 a month for rent when the rent is being increased. The $400 shows that I do no need to pay the $75. I paid $75 for over a year and the rent was still increased. Page Mill needs to either pay me back the money I have spend on the rent for the rent control or take back the rent increase.


After living seven years in an apartment on Newell Road, Randy Ashford has found it hard to continue to save for a house. He now sees himself forced to take from his savings just to ensure that the rent is paid. The conditions of his apartment are not very good

In a Hurricane •randy ashford considering that his living room and kitchen were flooded by a leak coming from the apartment on the third floor. This flood has left his first floor apartment with damages that took Page Mill months to attend to. Through these increases, Randy would sum up his experiences in one word: “crappy.” His initial rent was $800, and he now pays $1030 after being increased three times this year. Unafraid, Randy has been very vocal to let Page Mill, East Palo Alto Rent Board members and City Council members know how this issuse is affecting him and how Page Mill’s action are inhumane and strip tenants of the right to live safe and comfortable. He feels that Page Mill is taking advantage of tenants by using wording that wouldn’t be easily understood and increasing his rent multiple times in one year. Randy refuses to let Page Mill take advantage of him! Randy has filed an Individual Rent Petition appeal stating that his rent has been unlawfully increased. Over 150 tenants have filed these petitions, and he hopes that his petitions along with others are seen fair, so that tenants may return home to a secure environment.

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The offices of Youth United for Community Action is hardly what you’d call an office. It is more like a second home, a community center that comes alive at around 3:30 when youth run in dropping backpacks, running for the computers, grabbing snacks, and turning up the I-tunes. De’Antay Williams, 13, has come to YUCA for the past year to work on community issues from toxic waste plants to assuring community benefits. • shareika robinson But today it’s personal. Today he sits across his sister, Shareika Robinson, 21, at a conference table that is covered with the youth’s writings – some inspirational (“Be the light you want to see in the world”, to some joking (“De’Antay is hot.”)

You Better Treat Me Like I’m Somebody

“You better treat me like I’m somebody,” Shareika says. Today she will know De’Antay as not just the little brother who has been her world, but the young man who will stand up for her. She looks into De’Antay’s wide smiling eyes as she tells her story. Tired from a day of working with 7th graders at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto, she returns home to an apartment in horrible conditions. Her apartment needs better water pressure, cabinets, drawers on the refrigerator, windows shades and other basic necessities for an apartment to function properly. It is bad enough that she has to live in these uncomfortable conditions, yet her safety is risked every night when she manually lights her heater. In addition to the critical conditions of her home, she also has to deal with the merciless rent increases by Page Mill Properties. Her initial rent was $1,220 then was increased to $1,265 in February and then to $1300 in September. These increases may be seen as insignificant but her monthly income is only $1450. After paying the rent on the 1st of the month, she is only left with $150 for food, insurance, apparel, clothing, and other daily expenses. But though this is far from the home she grew up in about half a mile away with her grandmother, it is her own. Shareika worries because in four months, she will have her first baby. Born and raised in East Palo Alto, she loves her community, but believes her apartment is no place to raise a child. Despite noticing management of the needed maintenance in her apartment, Page Mill has nevertheless gone weeks without a response. When they do attempt to fix the problems, they are half-fixed, and she is left waiting for months for Page Mill to return and try again. The only question on Shareika’s mind is to find the real reason for the increases. Fed up, she has one thing to say to Page Mill. “Stop raising my rent. Fix my apartment.” De’Antay nods.


Dolores is a mother of three living in a one-bedroom apartment complex on O’Connor Street. She works six days a week to ensure that she is able to pay the rent and put food on the table. Everyday she feels pressured to work long hours because she is unaware if her rent will be increased beyond the hours her body will allow her to work. Like many tenants we have outreached to, her apartment does not meet the necessities for tenants to live comfortably. She doesn’t have access to her parking space because her garage door is broken. For the past three months, she has been unable to cook dinner for her family because the pilot won’t light. Three months ago Dolores requested maintenance to fix her stove and the garage door, and they have yet to fix them. She doesn’t understand this, especially because she sees Page Mill constantly attending to the outside fixtures of the complex.

dolores x •

Protecting My Children Like many of her neighbors she feels helpless as a parent, unable to see her children as she desires. She works hard to make a better life for them, but rarely gets to see them. More than anything the rent increase has impacted the time she is able to spend with her family, struggling to make sure that her young children stay unaware of the issues facing her family. Many tenants have said that Page Mill puts families in crisis similar to the great depression as people face displacement everyday.

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arnold hart •

We Didn’t Build This Community Just For Others To Live In It

A multitude of tenants and community members have found inspiration within Arnold Hart. He is always the first and last one at meetings, rallies, court hearings – you name it. Standing 6’2 on the frontlines of this ferocious battle with Page Mill Properties, Arnold has protested this unjust action by only paying the allowable increase of 3.2% each month. He feels that paying anything over the Annual General Adjustment does not honor the laws protecting tenants under the rent control. While Page Mill has taken him to court over this, he has fought it every step of the way. “They think they can scare us, but we just have to stand up and fight. We didn’t build this community just for others to live in it.” Arnold has lived at 22 Newell Avenue in Apartment #21 for the past three years. He has been raising his son as single parent in a unit that needs new carpeting and new appliances. Arnold has tried to contact Page

Mill Properties on different occasions to fix his broken appliances and it takes weeks or no response at all. Page Mill Properties is increasing him $210 more despite inadequate services and living conditions. Arnold has been dedicated to get the rents decreased by diligently writing letters to Page Mill Properties, organizing tenants, and speaking at Rent Board Meetings. His presence has reminded people that they aren’t in this fight alone. Hearing him speak about how the law proves that that these increases are illegal brings comfort to those who don’t understand the legal language surrounding this issue. Despite the unresponsiveness of Page Mill, he has not given up and is not planning to give up. Through his actions, he is hoping that others will join the fight. It will be a very long war but at the end we will turn out victorious. He is proof that if you lead this fight with heart and courage, the movement will join you.


arnold hart •

No Construimos La Comunidad Solo Para Que Otros Vivan en Ella

Una multitud de inquilinos y miembros de la communidad had encontrado inspiracion entre Arnold Hart. El siempre ha cido el primero y ultimo en nuestra juntas, marchas, y en todo lo demas. Siendo 6’2 en la fronteras contra PageMill, Arnold ha protestado contra la accion injusta por pagando lol que se puede aumentar del 3.2% cada mes. el siente que pagando mas de lo que tiene ser pagado de el Annual General Adjustment no honra la leys protegiendo los inquilinos abajo de la control de renta. Mientras Page Mill lo ha mandado a la corte sobre esto, el ha peliado cada paso que daba. “Ellos piensan que nos espantan, pero tenemos que paratrnos y peleqar. Nosotros no hisimos esta comunidad para que otros vivan en ella.” Arnold vivia en 22 Newell Avenue en apartamento #21 por los pasados tres anos. El criando ha su hijo como padre unico, en una unidad que necesita nueva carpeta y nueva cosas. Mr. Hart ha tratado de hablar con Page Mill Properties en defirentes occasiones

para arreglar articulos quebrados pero dura semanas o en veces Pagemill no le habla para atras. Page Mill le ha aumentado $210 aunque no le ayuda ha el con los servicios que necesita y la condiciones en que Arnold vive.

Arnold ha dedicado ha que bajen la renta por escribiendo letras a Page Mill Properties, ha organizado inquilinos y ha hablado en la juntas de el Rent Board. Su persona ayuda a la personas que requerden que ellos no estan en la lucha solos. escuchandolo hablar sobre como la ley muestra que estos aumentos son illegales, ayuda a los que no entiended el lenguage de la ley alrededor de este problema. Aunque Page Mill no le ha hablado a Arnold, el no se va a salir de la lucha y no planea a rendirse. con su acciones, el desea que otros van ha entrar en la lucha.va hacer una lucha larga pero en el final nosotros vamos a ganar. el es muestra de que si entras en la lucha con tu coraZon, y poder, el movimiento va estar con usted.


Dolores is a mother of three living in a one-bedroom apartment complex on O’Connor Street. She works six days a week to ensure that she is able to pay the rent and put food on the table. Everyday she feels pressured to work long hours because she is unaware if her rent will be increased beyond the hours her body will allow her to work. Like many tenants we have outreached to, her apartment does not meet the necessities for tenants to live comfortably. She doesn’t have access to her parking space because her garage door is broken. For the past three months, she has been unable to cook dinner for her family because the pilot won’t light. Three months ago Dolores requested maintenance to fix her stove and the garage door, and they have yet to fix them. She doesn’t understand this, especially because she sees Page Mill constantly attending to the outside fixtures of the complex.

dolores x •

Estoy Protegiendo A Mis Niños Like many of her neighbors she feels helpless as a parent, unable to see her children as she desires. She works hard to make a better life for them, but rarely gets to see them. More than anything the rent increase has impacted the time she is able to spend with her family, struggling to make sure that her young children stay unaware of the issues facing her family. Many tenants have said that Page Mill puts families in crisis similar to the great depression as people face displacement everyday.

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Las oficinas de Juventud Unidos para la Acción de la Comunidad son apenas lo que usted llamaría una oficina. Es más como una residencia secundaria, un centro social que se vivifica en alrededor de 3:30 cuándo los juvenes a dejar caer las mochilas, corriendo para las computadoras, asiendo bocados, y prendiendo los I-tunes. De’Antay Williams, de tan solo 13 anos de edad, ha venido a YUCA desde el año pasado a trabajar en asuntos de comunidad de plantas tóxicas de desecho a asegurar • shareika robinson los beneficios de la comunidad. Pero hoy es personal. Hoy él se sienta a través de su hermana, Shareika Robinson, de 21 agos de edad, en una mesa negociadora que es cubierta con las escrituras de la juventud – algúna inspirasion (“Es la luz que usted quiere ver en el mundo”, a algunos bromeando (“De’Antay es guapo.”)

Usted Mejor Me Trata Como Alguien Que Soy

“Usted mejor me trata como alguien que soy ,” Shareika dice. Hoy ella conocerá a De’Antay como no justo el hermanito que ha sido su mundo y cambió sus pañales, pero el joven que la defenderá. Ella ve los ojos anchos sonrientes de De’Antay cudo ella dice su historia. Cansada de un día de trabajar con alumnos del séptimo grado en la Academia de Cesar Chavez en East Palo Alto, ella vuelve a su casa a un apartamento en condiciones horribles. Su apartamento necesita mejor presión del agua, los gabinetes, los cajones en el refrigerador, sombras de ventanas y otras necesidades básicas para un apartamento para funcionar apropiadamente. Es suficiente malo que ella tiene que vivir en estas condiciones incómodas, mas su seguridad es arriesgada cada noche cuando ella enciende manualmente su calentador. Esto es distante del hogar que ella creció en acerca de la mitad una milla lejos con su abuela, pero es su propiedad. Además de las condiciones críticas de su hogar, ella también tiene que tratar con los aumentos despiadados de la renta de las Propiedades de Page Mill . Su renta inicial fue $1.220 luego fueron aumentados a $1.265 en febrero y despues a $1300 en septiembre. Estos aumentos pueden ser vistos como insignificante pero su ingreso mensuale son solomente $1450. Después de que pagar la renta en el primer del mes, ella sólo sea queda con $150 para el alimento, para el seguro, para la ropa, y para otro gastos diarios. Shareika se preocupa porque en cuatro meses, ella tendrá a su primer bebé. Nacida y creada en East Palo Alto, ella adora su comunidad, pero cree que su apartamento no es lugar para lcrear a un niño. A pesar de mal superviso de mantenimiento en su apartamento, Page Mill tiene semanas sin dar contestasiones a quejas. Cuándo ellos procuran fijar los problemas, ellos medio-fijan, y ellos son dejados a esperar meses a Page Mill para volver y tratar otra vez. La única pregunta en la mente de Shareika es de encontrar la razón verdadera para los aumentos. cansada , ella tiene una cosa que desir a Page Mill. “Paren de suvir la renta. Areglen mi apartamento”. De’Antay esta de acuerdo.


Después de vivir siete años en un apartamento en Newell Road, Randy Ashford ha encontrado dificil poder continuar a guardar para una casa. El ahora se ve forzado a tomar de sus ahorros para asegurar justo que el alquiler sea pagado. La condición de su aparta-

En Un Huracán •randy ashford mento no es muy buena teniendo en cuenta que su sala de recibo y la cocina fueron inundades por una filtración que viene del apartamento en el tercer piso. Esta inundación ha dejado su apartamento del primer piso con daños que le tomo meses a Page Mill para ocuparse. Por estos aumentos Randy ha indicado que su experiencia con Page Mill ha sido “crappy.” Su alquiler inicial fue $800, el ahora paga $1030 después de que sea aumentado tres veces este año. Randy ha sido muy vocal en permiterle a Page Mill, Rent Board miembros y City Council miembros saber cómo esto lo afecta y como la acción de Page Mill es inhumana y que pela a arrendatarios del derecho de vivir seguro y confortable. El se siente que Page Mill se aprovecha de a arrendatarios. Randy se niega a permitir que Page Mill se aproveche de el utilizando palabras grandes y aumentando su alquiler muchas veces en un año. El Sr. Ashford ha archivado una Peticiones Individuales del Alquiler que indican que su alquiler ha sido aumentado ilegalmente. Mas de 150 personas han archivado los peticiiones, y él espera que sus peticiones junto con otros sean vistas justo. Así que arrendatarios pueden volver a casa a un ambiente seguro.

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Decisiones Que Las Familias No Deben Tener Que Hacer Mi nombre es Elda Gaona y yo vivo en 2001 Manhattan Avenue apartamento 14. en Noviembre del 2008, mi renta va hacer $1300, que significa que me aumentaron $400. en Julio del 2008 voy a tener un ano en mi apartamento. Antes de que vivia en este apartamento, yo vivia en el primer piso con mi tres hermanas. Ahorita vivo en un apartamento con un cuarto y mi hermana y su hija viven conmigo. Mi dinero mensual es $1000 pero tambien tengo que pagar la comida, y billes como de electricidad y agua. Desde el dia que recibia una nota de Page Mill Apartmanets, ya conocidos como Woodland Park Managements, yo he estado muy estresada. He pasado muchas noches despierta pensando si tengo suficiente dinero para pagar mi renta. Mientras me hermana me ayuda para pagar la renta, todavia no es suficiente. Ahora yo tengo dos trabajos, y como estoy salvando mi dinero para pagar la renta, no tengo nada en mi refrigerador. Hay unos dias que tenemod algo que comer pero tambien hay dias que no tenemos nada que comer porque si compramos comida, no tenemos suficiente para pagar la renta.

elda lilia gaona •

Lo que hace esta situacion mas dificil y mas triste es que las condiciones de este apatamento no han cambiado. Cuando hago un complaint de halgo que no sirbe en el apatamento, no recibo noticias de el complaint hasta muchas semanas despues, y en una occacion tres meses despues. No entiendo lo que esta pasando con todo esto porque he recibio muchas letras de el manager diciendo que no estan aumentandon la renta para arreglar nuestros apartamentos pero las condiciones de los apartamentos estan igual. Por ejemplo mi estufa parece estar quemada porque esta bien vieja. Yo pienso que es muy importante que nosotros vallemos a todas las juntas para que estemos informados de lo que esta pasando pero como yo tengo dos trabajos es muy dificil. He oyido muchas cosas sobre Page Mill y las intenciones que hacen. Mientras no se lo que quieren hacer, si se que muchas peronas se estan moviendo o estan forcadas que se muevan. Yo pienso que si los managers estan haciendo que se muevn, que dejen que se queden por un mes o dos gratis. No creo que es bueno que tenga que pagar $75 extra al mes nomas para que no aumenten la renta mas. Los $400 ensenan que yo no tengo que pagar los $75. he pagado estos $75 por mas de un ano y la renta todavia ha cido aumentada. Page Mill tiene que regresarme el dinero para atrĂĄs de lo que me han aumentado o tienen que bajar la renta.


Araceli Gaona es un arrendatario que reside en la avenida 2001 de Manhattan. Araceli fue aumentado ilegal de su alquiler original de $900 a $1300, que es un aumento de $400 dólares esas cantidades a 44% cuando la tarifa general anual legal del ajuste es 3.2%. Como una madre de funcionamiento ella encuentra extremadamente difícil balancear su tiempo con el trabajo y criar a su niño. Ella trabaja en San Francisco y tiene que actualmente pagar costes del transporte a su trabajo porque ella no tiene suficiente para comprarse un vehículo. Además de pagar alquiler, utilidades, costes del transporte, el alimento, y apoyar a su hijo, ella también está contribuyendo para ayudar a apoyar su madre y hogar de los hermanos detrás porque si ella no les ayuda, no comen. Ella está realmente entre una roca y un lugar duro. Ella no puede permitirse llamar en el enfermo para incluso un día porque si ella no trabaja, ella no consigue pagada. Araceli ha observado que han desarraigado a varias familias y hay muchas vacantes en su complejo. Ella pide, “Porqué un • junior and araceli gaona propietario, que se supone confiar en la recepción de renta de arrendatarios como medio para beneficio estaría empujando a gente para irse?” Ella agrega mas que no tiene ningun sentido.

Quiero Estar Alli Para Mi Hijo

Como sueldo bajo, la clase obrera, madre soltera, Araceli está decidiendo encendido a si ella toma otro trabajo de pagar el alquiler, o tiempo del gasto para criar a su hijo. Pues ella comtempla esto, ella nos dice que que “quiero estar allí para mi hijo, y si ese los medios que tenemos que movernos, mano en primer lugar no sé dónde podríamos movernos, pero estaría algo allí para mi hijo.” Page Mill está forzando Araceli a decidir entre la familia o donde dormir y mientras que Araceli dice ella elegirá a la familia, ésta es una situación con la cual nadie se deben hacer frente.

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Vivimos Pendiendo De Un Ilo • artemio boitez Artemio vive en 430 East O’ Keefe, el apartamento #213. Como muchos otros arrendatarios en East Palo Alto, él ha tenido que experimentar muchas dificultades a causa de los aumentos del alquiler. Su renta ha aumentado tres veces, comenzando en $728 completamente a $800 entre los meses de Febrero 2008 y Septiembre 2008. Artemio está en un sueldo fijo; él sólo recibe $913 por mes. El está en un estado de incapacidad; cada centavo que él recibe hacia la renta y la medicina y los aumentos del renta lo han dolido tremendamente. Aunque él pagua mucho dinero por este apartamento, es apenas hasta igualdad. Su cocina está en mal estado. El ha sometido muchas quejas a los supervisores acerca de la condición de su cocina, pero él toda bia no a recibido una respuesta, Artemio vive con una alfombra de seis años de edad que es completamente intolerable; Artemio tuvo que sacar dinero una vez más de su propio bolsillo para reemplazar la alfombra en su apartamento. Repetidas veces, Artemio ha tratado de hacer las quejas para Page Mill, sin embargo ellos han sido insensibles. A menudo tiempos, él es pusto en espera y el teléfono nunca es contestado. El ha dejado mensajes que no han sido vueltos. Artemio puede recordar el tiempo que él mandó una petición, hace mas de tres meses; nadie ha respondido a él todavía. Esto es otro ejemplo de cómo Page Mill no tiene interés en sus arrendatarios. Aqui tenemos a un hombre que es dependiente en la financiación de gobierno, que es sujeto a vivir en una situación horrible. Page Mill se niega a comunicar con él. Artemio comprende que la renta sólo debe ser aumentada una ves por año, pero él ha experimentado tres. Artemio cree que Page Mill sólo quiere conseguir dinero; él no es la única persona que comparte esta experiencia o esta opinión.

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Esa Casa Era Yo En Viva •bianca rodriguez Hola, mi nombre es Bianca Rodriguez. Tengo 12 anos, y yo antes vivia en East Palo Alto en 1966 Euclid Ave. Para mi esa casa significa mucho para mi porque era un lugar donde podia tener confiansa con los demas y donde tenia amigos. Durante los dos anos que vivia ahi fueron los mejores momentos de mi viva porque tenia amigos que me quieren. Esa casa era yo en viva, era como si estubiera en el cielo era donde quiero estar, no estar en un lugar desconosido donde todos nos odian o donde no te comoscan bien. No habian secretos entre todos los becinos era como una familia no nada mas becinos. Esa casa me rebivio porque antes yo no era como la luna pero cuando entre a esa casa era mas brillante que el sol hasi mismo. Tenia todo lo que queria, como: arboles al rededor de mi, un parke pequeno para jugar, y lo mas maravilloso del mundo que era mi casa. Hay cinco personas en mi familia. Mi mama, Maria E., mi papa, Antonio, mi hermana, Maria, mi hermado, Anthony, y yo, Bianca. A hora vivo en Redwood City porque mi papa no pudo pagar la renta que fue aumentada por la Propiedades de Page Mill. Mi papa trato de pagar la renta pero a el lo trataron sin respecto. Su didnidad es mas baliosa que eso. Donde vivo ahora es bueno y todo pero no es mi casa. Nunca sera lo mismo como en la otra casa porque antes yo era una estrella en lo mas alto del cielo y ahora estoy bajando. Yo no me siento lo mismo como lo sentia en la otra casa. Era como si algo dentro de mi estaba faltando. Aunque vivo ahi, yo todavia voy a East Palo Alto Charter School y yo escogi hir ahi y aunque me toque que aser una hora y media para caminar de Redwood City hasta EPA. EPA es mi hogar es donde quiero estar.

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Teresa Salazar, tiene 39 anos, es una mama, esposa, y una immigrante de Mexico. Con tres de sus higos y con su esposo, ella vive en unos de los apartamentos de Page Mill por cinco anos. Para un ojo de afuera, esta recamara de un cuarto estan apachurados con toas las camas que duplican el espacio de la familia y el los pacillos que es lo doble de la sala. Pero para ella, es un hogar , y lleno de suenos y amor de su familia: fotos de caballos que le ase recordar Mexico, un tambor que su hijo Alvaro practica para tocarlo en le inglesia, y los animales del el Rey Leon que su hija Elly que occupa su tiempo con. Ella hase limpiesa de casa en la otra horilla de el puente en Palo Alto - casas que estan conpletamente basias con mucha luz. Hasiendo esto ella hase asta 1,200 en un mes, con matariales que teresa salazar • su esposo en el trabajo ese trabajando en la noche el un 7-11 a un bajo ingreso.

Esta Apretadisimo

“No es que Page Mill me ofenda,” ella digo sentada en un escritorio de officina que es lo doble de su cosina. “Solamente estan abusando a los inquilinos. Su proposito es dinero. Ellos dicen en las noticias que ban hablar con los inquilinos y nos quieren, pero los sigen aumentando la renta?” Desde Diciembre 2007 hasta Octubre 2008, su renta fue de $875 hasta $1074, un aumento de 19% - muy arriva de el aumento que se puede aumentar en East Palo Alto Estabilasion Orientada de Renta, y fue aumentada lo doble en un periodo de 12 meses. Sumandole, la propiedad manegada a sido consideradamente de las reglas de los inquilinos. Por ejemplo, el manegador a pedido por una liciencia de California y una registracion del carro para tener un parqueo. Teresa cree que esta es una manera para espantarlos o mas pior cancar ala comunidad. “Porque tenemos que pagar por esto y llenar todos estos papeles si tenemos que pagar la renta? Que piensan que son? DMV? Pero eso es otra manera para tratar de lastimarnos especialmente a los immigrantes.” Pero Teresa a estado tomando las cosas con calma. Pequello pero llena de fuejo, Teresa a hido a las juntas, para informarse, hablar en las marchas, y tambien a perdido el trabajo para attender a la corte para escuchar para ensenar a los jueses que las personas estan precupadan. Ella no se va a vender porque East Palo Alto es su casa.

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Este libro es una compilación de historias de arrendatarios viviendo en los apartamentos en East Palo Alto, CA poseído por Page Mill Properties. De paredes mojosas a aparatos que no sirven, muchos de los residentes en estas viviendas estan viviendo en condiciones horribles. A pesar de eso, muchos de ellos están sufriendo aumentos drásticos del alquiler. Muchos arrendatarios han experimentado aumentos del alquiler subida a 108%, cuál según las reglas y las regulaciones del Rent Stabilization Board en East Palo Alto, es illegal. El alquiler se puede levantar solamente hasta 3.2% cada año. Algunos residentes incluso han visto su alquiler ser lavantada tres veces mas alta. Porque East Palo Alto es una comunidad de ingreso bajo, la mayor parte de los residentes no pueden permitirse pagar este aumento. Algunos fueron desahuciados, mientras que otros deben tomar la decision dura entre literalmente tener comida en la mesa o tener una azotea sobre sus cabezas. Con la dirección de arrendatarios, nosotros en Youth United for Community Action (YUCA) estamos trabajando hacia abordar esta edición. Hemos hecho tal cosas como assistiendo a reunions del Consejo del alquiler y excediéndolas para que las peticiones ayeden a los arrendatarios a disminuir su alquiler. También ayudamos a formar una asociación de los arrendatarios para informarles sus derechos. También hemos participado con Fair Rent Now Coalition and East Palo Alto Consejo de arrendatarios y hemos trabajado muy de cerca con Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto y la Standford Law Clinic para utilizar estrategias legales para apoyar los derechos del arrendatario. El propósito de este libro es exponer a Page Mill Properties por ser injusto en levantarle los alquileres a los arrendatarios. YUCA ha intentado, y todavía está intentando fijar reunions con Page Mill para discutir el aumento del alquiler, pero continúan rechazando, al punto donde han llamado la policía en madres, niños, y abuelas cuando intentamos entregar peticiones a sus oficinas. La esencia verdadera de este libro es proporcionar un espacio para que los arrendatarios compartan sus historias personales de cómo los aumentos del alquiler golpean literalmente a casa. Diario excedemos a los arrendatarios, y nos cuentan historias de cómo se tratan. Mientras que la gente puede argumentar que es sobre el dinero, o sobre los apartamentos mohosos, o sobre políticas legales, en el final del día, la una cosa que oímos que la mayoría de los arrendatarios son que es sobre su dignidad. Está sobre los sueños que llevan del deseo de poder proporcionar una vida mejor y honesta para sus niños y ellos mismos. Les agradecemos por su valor de hablar hacia fuera sabiendo los riesgos que hacen frente. Les agradecemos por salir a las reunions y las millas que caminaron asta las oficinas de Page Mill desde East Palo Alto empujando sus cochecitos, sus andadores, para entregar nuestro mensaje unificado a Page Mill: no nos pueden derrotar. Esto es qué nos mueve como gente joven para luchar incluso más difícilmente, porque vemos en la gente que nos encontramos, las caras de nuestros padres y abuelos. Vemos a nuestros amigos y nuestra comunidad desaparecer y nosotros estamos movidos para tomar a carga de nuestro destino, porque como las palabras de Cesar Chavez y Barack Obama dicen “¡Si se puede!” Esperamos que usted sea movido a actuar con nosotros. Youth United for Community Action Octubre 2008


MUCHAS GRACIAS A LA GENTE SIGUIENTE QUE CONTRIBUYó A ESTE LIBRO East Palo Alto Arrendatarios y Miembros de La Comunidad Youth United for Community Action Alvaro Alvarez Andrea Cancino Anna Turner Anthony Clarke Aylet Torres Bianca Rodriguez Carlos Castillo Charisse Domingo Dalila Adofo De’Antay Williams Elizabeth Garcia Ester Tavera Flavio Garcia Francisco Preciado Giovanni Cruz Kalonji Nzinga Miriam Cruz Heilala Aholelei James Turner Ovier Mariscal Re’Anita Burns Sandra Cruz Sunia Sanft Thomas Williams Fotografia: Re’Anita Burns Charisse Domingo

RECURSOS PARA LOS ARRENDATARIOS * Concilio de Rentas de East Palo Alto Reuniones cada segundo y cuatro miercoles del mes, 7:00PM El Concilio de Ciudad, 2415 University Avenue * Departamento de Estabilización de Rentas En EPA 2277 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, Ca 94303 (650) 853-3114 Administrador: Steven Ford * Coalición Para Alquiler Justo www.epa-tenants.org * Concilio de Los Arrendatarios de East Palo Alto PO Box 50142, East Palo Alto, CA 94303 (650) 322-9725 wbw@leland.stanford.edu * Servicios Legales Para La Comunidad de East Palo Alto 2117-B University Avenue, East Palo Alto (650) 326-6440 info@clsepa.org * Servicios Legales (Stanford) 2117 University Ave., Suite A, East Palo Alto, CA (650)475-0560 jmbrodie@law.stanford.edu * Youth United for Community Action 2135 Clarke Avenue, East Palo Alto (650)322-9165 info@youthunited.net

Hill-Snowden Foundation


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SIN CASA AHORA?

La Batalla De Los Arrendatarios De East Palo Alto Para Pagar Las Aumentas De La Renta


Homeless Now? East Palo Alto Tenants Struggle To Pay The Rent Increases