October 11, 2018

Allowing local rent control is a matter of racial justice

Opponents of Proposition 10, the local rent control initiative on the November ballot, might say rent control is an esoteric free market issue. But California’s housing crisis is not esoteric. It’s a racial justice issue, plain and simple.

Voters should pass Prop. 10, which repeals the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, and start to address inequality in housing based solely on race. Prop. 10 would expand local government’s authority to enact rent control on housing.

White Americans have been property owners for hundreds of years, and people of color historically have been compelled to be renters. Redlining, which discouraged banks from approving home loans in “undesirable” parts of cities where more people of color lived, began in the 1930s when federal housing programs established an appraisal system that tied home loan availability to race. Between 1934 and 1962, the federal government backed $120 billion in home loans — 98 percent of which went to white families. Private lenders used these government guidelines to deny home loans or charge higher interest rates or fees.

Read more in the SF Chronicle