31 Jan Nevada Housing Justice Alliance welcomes President Biden’s tenant protection and affordable housing plan, will fight to protect renters at Nevada legislature
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2023
Nevada Housing Justice Alliance welcomes President Biden’s tenant protection and affordable housing plan, will keep fighting to protect Nevada renters at Nevada legislature
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Today, the Nevada Housing Justice Alliance (NHJA) commended the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement that it intends to study the federal government’s abilities to improve access to affordable housing and protect renters along with the publication of the White House Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights.
NHJA recognizes the urgent need for more tenant protections and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the Biden-Harris administration and state and local leaders to advance housing justice for Nevada’s renters.
Organizations belonging to NHJA released the following statements in reaction to the White House’s announcement:
“Exorbitant rent increases, threats of eviction, and housing affordability continue to be some of the most concerning issues facing working families in Nevada today. By taking aim at policies that have been keeping affordable housing out of reach, the Biden-Harris Administration is sending a clear signal that renters have a fighter in their corner,” said Gariety Pruitt, State Director of For Our Future Nevada. “Nearly half of Nevada’s households are renters, and many of them can’t keep up with the greedy corporate landlords who have been taking advantage of the current power imbalance which leaves tenants defenseless against price-gouging and unfair eviction practices. We look forward to continuing this conversation at the upcoming Nevada legislative session and fighting for secure, affordable housing for Nevada’s working families.”
“After months of engagement with tenant leaders from Nevada and across the country, the White House unveiled a set of actions on tenant protections, and a blueprint for a renters bill of rights. It’s vital that these processes lead to real actions and protections in the future, not simply stop once the report is complete,” said Shanzeh Aslam, Economic Justice Program Manager with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. “This is, however, the same type of engagement with tenant stakeholders we expect from our state legislature to truly address the issues of rising rents, unfair eviction proceedings, and housing discrimination. Tenants are at the forefront of our housing crisis and must be a part of policy conversations to ensure not another Nevada family falls victim to vulture investors or landlord greed.”
“I am grateful for President Biden’s Leadership. During the pandemic I had to move back in with my parents because of the skyrocketing rent increases that have made it impossible for a student like me to find affordable housing. The high cost of rent has really put me in a difficult situation,” said Melanie Arizmendi, a child of a Culinary Union member and member of the Culinary Union’s Neighborhood Stability committee. “Everything is so expensive and I am living paycheck to paycheck. All I want is to be able to afford rent and move out, but with rising rent, it has been hard. We need an urgent solution to the housing crisis – we won’t be able to make it otherwise. I hope the President continues to take action to stop corporations from price-gouging families like mine.”
“Nevada renters were among the hardest hit in the nation by the pandemic and subsequent housing crisis. We’re thrilled to see President Biden taking seriously the impact of absurd rent hikes, eviction-happy corporate slumlords, and the overall lack of access to affordable housing on Nevadans who are just trying to get back on their feet,” said Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress. “Thus far, we’ve only seen the power of landlords grow at the expense of renters, with 1 in 4 Nevada renters seeing a hike in their monthly rent by $250 or more. This is unacceptable. We commend the administration for beginning to take steps that will provide basic protections for renters in Nevada and nationwide. However, much work still remains, especially in holding accountable corporations like Siegel Suites, whose abuse and terrorizing of their tenants have been documented in hearings before Congress. If the new leadership in the House was serious about giving a boost to working families, they would get to work building upon and strengthening the policies laid out by the administration. We also expect Governor Joe Lombardo to open his mind, beyond the interests of his billionaire campaign donors, to work with the Nevada legislature on legislation to rein in rent costs, expand affordable housing, and provide basic protections to Nevada’s renters, who’ve suffered enough for far too long. We’re encouraged by the Biden administration’s actions and eager for continued action that helps Nevadans achieve and sustain access to housing.”
“My family is grateful that President Biden’s administration is taking a step toward protecting renters like us. The pandemic, inflation, and job instability have been tough for us, especially over the last four years. Last May, my husband and I had no choice but to find a local shelter. As a parent, I was heartbroken to see my 14-year-old daughter go through this. Still, we always find the strength to get back up once we fall.” said Areli Sanchez, member leader of Make the Road Nevada “Last November, my husband was laid-off, bringing uncertainty to our future once more. I don’t want to continue to fall over and over again. Having the protection we need to control rent prices and security in our own homes is something we desperately need. I hope President Biden continues to work to secure Nevada’s future.”
“Corporate landlords with unchecked privileges have leaned on Nevada renters for years, and we must stop looting the pockets of the most housing-insecure people to solve our state’s housing problems,” said ACLU of Nevada Policy Manager Lilith Baran. “It helps to have some federal backing, but we need to keep fighting to ensure that the Legislature enacts meaningful laws to end source-of-income discrimination and the summary eviction process.”
“I am happy to hear that the President’s administration is taking a step in the right direction to do something to address housing and rent costs. I am a single mother that lives paycheck to paycheck and my rent fluctuates due to my apartment utilities which are also rising in cost. They really need to find a way to stabilize rent and make it more accessible to people, especially those that have been previously incarcerated,” said Jennifer Peters, a leader with Faith in Action Nevada. “I am someone who was previously incarcerated and I have a felony conviction on my record so it’s already extremely difficult to find adequate housing. The lack of affordable housing and rent stabilization only makes my situation worse. There were times I would apply for an apartment and struggle because of my background. It really limited the places where I could live with my kids. I was forced to live in unsafe neighborhoods where my kids would be playing outside and then there would be drive-by shootings, in broad daylight. I hope that President Biden does everything in his power to make housing more affordable and easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to live in quality housing in safe environments.”
“We are happy to see that source-of-income protections are included in the proposed bill of rights. This is extremely important as Nevada currently has no laws in place to protect these tenants. Landlords can easily deny HUD-VASH or Housing Choice Vouchers with impunity,” said Nevada Homeless Alliance Executive Director, Catrina Grigsby-Thedford. “Our low-income citizens who are housing insecure need these protections. I am happy to see that the Administration is aware of this and is moving toward change. We are facing a crisis in Nevada. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Nevada’s overall number of affordable housing units is 15 out of every 100 households compared to the national average of 35. We support these efforts as we continue to fight for rent caps, source-of-income protections, affordable housing, and other tenant protections.”
The Nevada Housing Justice Alliance is a coalition of grassroots organizations fighting to improve tenants’ rights in the Silver State. NHJA is dedicated to amplifying the stories of Nevadans facing barriers to safe, affordable housing, connecting them with housing resources, and changing policies to help those most impacted by the power imbalance between tenants and landlords.