Friday, September 18, 2015

Silicon Valley Slumlords Watch Out: TT Expands Legal Clinics to San Jose

This week, Tenants Together's new Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow, Evelina Nava, joins our team, and she will be hitting the ground with a project in San Jose which aims to improve rental housing conditions and combat slum housing.

Why San Jose? Tenants throughout California fear retaliatory evictions for asserting their rights to safe and healthy housing, but this fear is intensified in San Jose by the current housing crisis and risk of homelessness due to severe unaffordability in the area. Rental prices in San Jose are among the highest in the nation. Recently, apartment rents increased more than in any other U.S. city. Almost 60% of very low-income households pay more than 50% of their income in rent in Santa Clara County. At the same time, there are no “just cause” eviction protections and landlords can impose 8% annual rent increases. Tenants pay too high a price to live in slum conditions.

About Evelina:

  • Evelina, a Berkeley School of Law graduate, looks forward to bringing her experience growing up in low-income communities in the Central Valley to help communities facing similar challenges in San Jose. 
  • She has assisted and represented low-income tenants, including monolingual Spanish speakers, in eviction cases as an intern at the East Bay Community Law Center and at Bay Area Legal Aid.
  • Her Peace Corps service reinforced her passion for community development and addressing root causes of poverty and inequality.

What will Evelina work on?

  • Holding tenant legal clinics in San Jose and beyond;
  • Representing low-income tenants to enforce habitability laws; 
  • Improving city code enforcement practices to improve rental housing conditions;
  • Working with grassroots allies to strengthen enforcement policies.

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