SAJE’s Building Equity and Transit (BET) initiative is focused on improving the built environment, especially housing and transit conditions, for working people in Los Angeles and the region.
Through organizing and education, we help build the community power needed to demand policy change. Currently, BET is focused on three main areas:
Residential Building Code Enforcement
SAJE was critical in pushing the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to move forward with establishing a comprehensive code enforcement program for unincorporated communities in Los Angeles County. As written, our proposal would require housing inspectors to visit every unit of rental housing in unincorporated Los Angeles County at least once every four years and specifies fines and penalties for landlords who fail to fix their buildings. In addition, our proposal recommends that the Board of Supervisors:
- Centralize all code enforcement for rental units under a single agency
- Adopt a proactive inspection program similar to L.A. City’s Systematic Code Enforcement Program
- Adopt a program similar to L.A. City’s Rent Escrow Account Program to hold landlords accountable for noncompliance and motivate cooperation
- Adopt a program similar to L.A. City’s Tenant Habitability Plan to ensure that property owners take the appropriate measures to ensure tenants are safe in the case of serious code violations necessitating construction work
- Create a property rehabilitation program that utilizes health and safety receiverships for challenging code enforcement cases
- Utilize the civil court system to hold landlords accountable for noncompliance
SAJE is working with community partners to eliminate fares on the LA Metro system and take the transportation burden off of working and low-income people. Our Fareless Transit campaign is also focused on improving bus and rail service and safety and making our city’s transportation system a community resource for all who live here. To get involved in this campaign, click here.
Decarbonization is a necessary step in making Los Angeles healthier and more resilient. We need it for our city, and we need it to work for everyone, including renters. SAJE is working to ensure that government-mandated retrofits to residential properties, such as switching from gas to electric stoves or new insulation for windows and doors, are not allowed to be funded by rent increases.
Two million people rent in Los Angeles, and nearly half of these households are severely rent burdened, spending over 50% of their income on rent and utilities. Los Angeles also has a scarcity of affordable housing. If renters have to pay for building retrofits, we’ll see even fewer affordable units, more evictions, and communities destabilized by displacement and debt. We recently published a report that examines the effects of decarbonization on tenants and housing in Los Angeles you can read here.