Proposition 21 is a "…much-needed state initiative on rent control designed to give local municipalities greater control to address California's housing affordability crisis within their own communities."
The California Nurses Association (CNA), which represents thousands of health care workers who have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic and bore witness to the medical, humanitarian and economic havoc wreaked by the virus, today endorsed Prop. 21.
Describing it as a "much-needed state initiative on rent control designed to give local municipalities greater control to address California's housing affordability crisis within their own communities," this endorsement is another representation of who is backing Prop. 21 and why it is such a vital initiative.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
California Nurses Association Endorses Prop. 21
Registered nurses say state initiative would help keep families in their homes and help stave off thousands of evictions of at-risk Californians during global pandemic.
The California Nurses Association (CNA) announced today it is endorsing Proposition 21, a much-needed state initiative on rent control that restores the decision-making process on whether (or not) to allow or enact rent control measures to local jurisdictions, communities, and local elected officials.
Currently, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act—which passed by just one vote in 1995—is a one-size, fits-all state law that restricts rent control throughout California, while freezing rent control laws that had already been enacted by the time the law passed.
"One of the most profound impacts on the public health is housing insecurity," said Zenei Cortez, RN, president of National Nurses United. "Millions of Californians who are rent-burdened are forced to make painful choices between paying the rent or paying for prescription drugs and medical services. They are one paycheck away from living on the streets, where the public health challenges are even more severe. Adverse physical and mental health problems, including lung diseases, bronchitis, pneumonia, malnutrition, skin infections, and the threat of COVID-19 infection, given the increased difficulty of social distancing, become greater threats. The unhoused, especially women and children, also face increased trauma from physical assault and rape."
Key Facts on Rent Burdened Tenants and the Impact of Housing Stability on Health
Half of California renters are cost-burdened, meaning that at least one-third of their income goes to housing expenses; that means they have little other money to divide among other necessities like medication, nutritious food, and internet access for school and work from home.
Affordability and stability of housing indirectly impact health; factors like fear of eviction, rising housing costs, and frequent moving cause high stress and take priority over other pressing health needs.
When passed, Proposition 21 will remove current state law restrictions, giving cities and counties the power to implement and expand rent control policies that limit how much rents can increase each year. It would allow local communities to:
Expand rent control to more buildings while exempting newly constructed buildings.
Exempt Single-Family homeowners who own up to two homes.
Allow limits on rent increases when a new renter moves in.
"CNA is proud to endorse Proposition 21," added Cortez. "Evictions and homelessness disproportionally affect Black and brown people, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated this problem by creating more layoffs, which leads to financial and housing instability. Communities of color simply cannot make the rent. BIPOC communities are more likely because of various structural racist policies to have a low wage job that cannot be performed at home. Prop 21 is critical to ensuring that these communities are provided the rent affordability that they and their families so desperately deserve."
 Rodriguez, Zeize. CalEnvironScreen 3.0: Update to the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool. January 2017. Available online: https://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/calenviroscreen/report/ces3report.pdf#page=135
 Hernandez, PhD, et al. Housing as a Social Determinant of Health. Leveraging the Social Determinants to Build a Culture of Health: June 1-2, 2016. Available online: https://healthequity.globalpolicysolutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Housing2.pdf
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