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Mass Evictions Spread to Fairfax District. A state housing chief is using the Ellis Act to evict his tenants

June 10, 2015

By Lovell Estell III : capitalandmain – excerpt

As it states on its website, “for more than 35 years, the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) has supported the needs of renters and home buyers by providing financing and programs that create safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for low to moderate income Californians.” But now some apartment dwellers in Beverly Grove and the Fairfax District are wondering whether the agency’s chairman, Matthew Jacobs, has forgotten— or perhaps, never really embraced—the noble purposes expressed in the state agency’s mission statement.

Jacobs has sat on the board since 2012 and was designated chair by Governor Jerry Brown in December, 2013. He has an extensive, accomplished background in real estate finance and development, and is the Principal at Bulldog Partners, LLC., a real estate development company that is now in the process of using the Ellis Act to evict 17 tenants from four rent-regulated buildings, situated on N. Flores St. and N. Edinburgh Ave., to make way for the construction of high-priced “luxury” housing. Passed in 1986, the Ellis Act allows California landlords to get out of the business, evict tenants and sell the property to new owners.

“That this man is head of an agency that supposedly is working to provide affordable housing is outrageous,” says Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition For Economic Survival, adding, “for the last three years we have seen an increase in Ellis evictions and the destruction of affordable housing, and it’s only going to get worse.”

Ellis Act evictions are taking place throughout Southern California at an alarming rate. According to Curbed LA, they have doubled over last year, and the trend doesn’t seem to be abating. Even in Santa Monica, where rent control is religion, people are being forced out in greater numbers onto a market that is shrinking every day, according to the Santa Monica Rent Control Board’s Consolidated Annual Report. This is especially troubling given ever-climbing rents in Los Angeles and the rising level of homelessness.

David Modern, an at-large-representative of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council tells Capital & Main, “The same thing has been happening where I live — it’s happening all over.”… (more)

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