Oakland Tenants Declare Big Victories

by Oakland ACORN on July 29, 2005

On July 19th, California ACORN announced victories on demands to equal language access in local government. The Tenant’s United Chapter in Oakland received confirmation from the City Administrator’s office that the City will be putting a multi-lingual message on the Code Enforcement answering machine for non-English speakers to leave messages and file complaints. There will be more multi-lingual operators/staff on the phones to field calls from non-English speakers Oakland ACORN also won mass inspections of the Peppertree apartments, which is rife with sub-standard housing conditions. The City Attorney’s office is spearheading their own inspection followed by a sit down with the landlord wherein the City issued an ultimatum on making repairs and conducting mass extermination of rodents and roaches.

From Oakland Acorn: After months of fighting, members of ACORN s Tenants United Chapter won two major victories for equal access to healthy housing in the City of Oakland!

ACORN members and other tenants living in the Peppertree Apartments have endured an array of health and environmental hazards that include rodent and roach infestation, excessive mold, water and structural damage that the property owner has not corrected despite tenant efforts. Most recently, ACORN member Laura Ponce s children were awoken in the night by mice climbing on their bed.

On July 25, 2005, in an event coordinated by the Neighborhood Law Corps, ACORN and representatives from the office of the City Manager and Councilmember De La Fuente s office, inspectors from the Code Enforcement Department converged on the complex and conducted a mass inspection. This is the first step being taken to hold the property owner accountable for the conditions of this apartment.

Though the Neighborhood Law Corps and Councilmember De La Fuente have taken action before to reign in “absentee” landlords, this is the first such effort between the City and members of ACORN. Both the City and ACORN see this as the first step in a broader campaign of coordinating in the fight for healthier homes in the City.

Oakland Tenants Win Equal Language Access

Last week, the Assistant City Administrator announced that City s code enforcement department will be implementing a new, multi-lingual message to field complaints from non-English speaking residents this week. This came after ACORN leaders lead a delegation of 31 members to the City s sub-committee on Public Safety to demand equal language access to filing complaints concerning sub-standard living conditions.

Prior to this, non-English tenants and residents have had no way with which to communicate health and safety hazards to the City s code enforcement department. This announcement is a major step in creating equal access to City services and cracking down on slum housing throughout Oakland.

For more information on Oakland ACORN s Housing Rights campaign please contact us at 510-434-3110 ext. 232.

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