Causa Justa :: Just Cause kicked off our Utilities On! campaign on Thursday, September 2nd at our Foreclosures Make Us Sick press conference and release of our report, Rebuilding Neighborhoods, Restoring Health, written in collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Department. The report is the only of its kind to document the public health impact of foreclosure.
The press conference highlighted a key finding in our report: foreclosures have forced many tenants into unhealthy and substandard living conditions. We found that 43% of tenants in foreclosure worry about being forced out or evicted and that more than 30% of tenants in foreclosed properties report that they are living in unhealthy places with substandard conditions such as mold, rodents, and cockroaches.
We also found that banks use utility shut-offs as an indirect way to illegally evict tenants, thus sparking CJJC’s first cross bay campaign. CJJC’s keep Utilities On! campaign is fighting to keep water on for East Bay tenants and keep PG&E on for San Francisco tenants. Through this campaign, we will be bringing together Black and Latino communities in Oakland and San Francisco to fight to protect tenants’ right to stay and make the big banks pay!
United against foreclosures
CJJC members, allies and elected officials gathered at the press conference on Thursday to help us roll out the report and kick off the Utilities on! campaign. Attendees included Ruben Briones, Deputy Chief of Staff for County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker of District 3; EBMUD Board member Andy Katz, who committed to continue his work with CJJC to keep water on for tenants in foreclosed properties; and Deputy Director Joseph Ragazzo, of the State Attorney General’s office, who is also supports of protecting the rights and health of tenants.
Speakers at the press conference included Dr. Anthony Iton, of the California Endowment, Dr. Sandra Witt of the Alameda County Public Health Department, and representatives from the California Reinvestment Coalition and Tenants Together. Also present to support were ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), EBASE (East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, CBE (Communities for a Better Environment and the San Francisco Foundation.
See news coverage of the report!
Oakland Tribune front page article: Foreclosures Heavy Toll on Health