Letters to the Editor: Landlords sparked L.A.’s overcrowding crisis. They got an assist from leaders in the rental industry who ignored the problem for too long.
Last month’s meeting of the Coalition of Rental Housing Organizations was not a mere gathering of landlord-members, but a meeting of leaders in the rental housing industry.
The group, which includes all the major organizations in the industry, formed at the request of the Los Angeles Apartment Association in response to the city’s overcrowding crisis and recommendations from Housing for All, a coalition of more than 30 organizations representing low- to middle-income rental housing.
The group was meant to be a meeting of landlord members and not landlords only because the group’s primary purpose is to offer recommendations to the city and to offer resources to low- to middle-income residents of L.A. for the housing crisis.
But the meeting was a meeting of landlords and housing leaders, and a meeting at which the city’s chief of staff told the group that the city was “a disaster area” and that “the last thing we need to do is to give you the city’s cooperation in terms of rent increases. I told you that before we got here. I’m not going to go back on that.”
The group was invited to the meeting by the L.A. Apartment Association because the L.A. Apartment Association’s executive director, Joe Sossenberg, was the city’s chief of staff at the time.
Since the meeting, representatives from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the National Fair Housing Alliance — the two other tenant stakeholder organizations that have been involved in the city’s housing crisis since 2000 — have held separate town-hall meetings in which they offered to help low- to middle-income residents find an alternative to the overcrowded housing they are living in.
“We understand that you’re faced with an incredibly challenging and serious situation,” said Jennifer Lacy, a senior vice president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “That is why we’ve offered to provide housing counseling to tenants and help with relocation.”