Grassroots policy campaigns are at the heart of our work, because our goal is not just to change conditions one person at a time, but to win long-term institutional change through community organizing.
In 2010, we:
- Published a ground-breaking report: “Rebuilding Neighborhoods, Restoring Health,” a collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Department. This report is the only one of its kind. It documents the health effects of the foreclosure crisis on East and West Oakland residents and neighborhoods and is a testament to the need for meaningful policy change around foreclosures.
- Convinced the City of Oakland to divest from Bank of America and to develop a criteria for selecting who the city banks with that includes an institution’s record with regard to foreclosures.
- Fought and won our “Utilities On!” Campaign, after our housing counselors witnessed banks using utility shut-offs as an indirect tactic to illegally evict tenants. We successfully pressured the SF City Attorney to extend a directive that prohibits PG&E and SFPUC from shutting off the utilities on tenants in foreclosed properties. In the East Bay, we were able to get EBMUD to pass a policy that keeps the water on in all multi-unit buildings and puts a lien on the property instead of punishing the tenants. This is an important step in ensuring that we keep tenants in their homes.
- Celebrated and implemented a new automobile policy in San Francisco that stops the abuse of immigrant drivers. The City no longer impounds vehicles for 30 days if the driver has no license. A driver is now allowed to get a friend to come pick up the car instead. This will save undocumented people hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours of headaches per year.