Palo Alto Renters' Association



Neighbors - 

This note about our future is personal - and long. In 2020 a handful of renters in Palo Alto were fed up and formed Palo Alto Renters' Association. Despite half of the residents in our city being tenants, there was a huge gap between the lives of people on boards and commissions and the experience we were having in the community. While our forming slogan was "Make Palo Alto a better home for renters!"; The thought behind it was really, "Nothing about us without us." We were tired of watching folks who weren't impacted by the high cost of housing make decisions for us.

Since then we have celebrated several tenants joining appointed and elected bodies; including our former staff and board member Katie Causey who is now on the Human Relations Commission and recently wrote this op-ed. We've brought together tenants for picnics and resource fairs, meetings with Council members and public comment, and we've counseled hundreds of neighbors to help bring down their base rents and negotiate with landlords. At the core, we have shifted the narrative on renters in our community. We've made every single policy priority named by our forming body a reality, except one.

We have formed a community of WE, where our actions are collective and the effort is shared. And to borrow from Saul Alinsky, while we have not been perfect, we've worked to the best of our capacity to make the world as it should be closer to the world as it is.  

Our final priority, which we didn't focus on enough, was to make Palo Alto a more affordable place for all of us to live. That's why I'm thrilled to share that Palo Alto Renter's Association is moving back under the umbrella of our fiscal sponsor, Palo Alto Forward. This will allow shared resources, preventing both of us from working in siloed ways that faction our movement and make it harder to work together. Because there are so few homes, a handful of landlords get to make up the rules and we want tenants to have an opportunity to weigh in on the policies around new housing, implementation of our Housing Element, and local land use and zoning. Here are the next steps you'll see in the coming weeks and months: 

We'll send one more email out when we get the group coffee setup. See you on December 1st! And please don't hesitate to email if you have questions:! I'll be checking the emails personally and make sure they are responded to within 24-48 hours.

In solidarity, 
Angie Evans 

Tenants Together has a text helpline for shared resources for renters facing economic hardship and other COVID-related issues. Text HELPLINE to (650) 600-7821 for a list of basic resources, but please contact the normal hotline via phone if you are facing an issue that requires tenant counseling on your rights.