Will Antioch become a “Mattress Town”
Updated: Aug 4
Community speaks on rent hikes, Part I
by William Palmer, Editor
ANTIOCH Antioch’s City Council has a decision to make on how to address the rising rents that’s pushing longtime residents out of their homes and city. The Special Meeting for the 6th Cycle of Housing Element Update started with in person comments as Mayor Lamar Thorpe presided over a City Council panel that was missing Mike Barbanica, Mayor Pro Tem.
At 5:31pm on June 28, 2022, residents began questioning if the City of Antioch is a community that provides an opportunity to live, learn, work, worship, and play in a safe, stimulating and diverse community. The June 14th meeting brought to the forefront the Tenant Protection policy for inclusionary housing for anti-harassment, just cause eviction, rent stabilization, and the tenant community opportunity to purchase act issue before the Council. The inclusionary housing act was supposed to have a percentage of housing at a restricted income level that residents could afford. However, two income renters are now being priced out their homes.
The State law may restrict the Mayor and Council from adopting policy to control rent. Policy revenue doesn’t ensure an outcome, but a review. The intent of the modification was to have community engagement in the process. Many feel the only engagement that matters is with techies that will rent from the developers. However, today student residents spoke of their mother’s working multiple jobs; and students that are mothers furthering their education to provide for their families, some that are undocumented, using star bucks free Wi-Fi and then return to their cars where they live. These are the most vulnerable to rent hikes and many wonder if Antioch cares enough to do something.
Judeth Ortiz: Executive Director of Monument Impact came in support of low-income citizens of Antioch that have been subject to displacement, sudden high rent increase, harassment and the “…need [of] affordable and healthy places to live. Spending half their paycheck on rent.”
Camila Miller of ACE and Child Care Change Makers did not come to repeat old complaints. “The council has heard these issues over and over…either we’re not seen as humans, or the Council members are inept.”
She seems to believe they do see money. They, being the developers, can only get so much money. She continued, “…the people of Antioch keep Antioch alive, the businesses alive. The owners of these business live in Antioch. If, the owners can’t do business and the resident can’t support businesses in Antioch there will be no Antioch.” Camila Miller’s presence was calm while her voice spoke with confidence, “You will be known as the Council that let Antioch die. The techies shop online, eating elsewhere, won’t show up at the concerts at the park, entertaining in San Francisco or Oakland…and the heart and soul of the city will be forced out leaving Antioch as a mattress town.