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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of The Tenant Power Toolkit in 2023

The Tenant Power Toolkit in 2023


This report summarizes the first eighteen months of the Tenant Power Toolkit (TPT), an online legal mutual aid tool that helps any California tenant facing a legal eviction to file a legal answer with the court. Through this intervention, the TPT seeks first to keep tenants housed, but as a threshold onto de-individualizing tenancy through research-supported organizing. The TPT’s backend database provides unprecedented tenant-reported, real-time eviction information by zip code, landlord, tenant race/ethnicity and more. In an otherwise opaque data landscape of evictions, this research-organizing partnership aims to enable tenants to fight their evictions, use the data produced in that process to support ongoing and new local tenant organizing, while also building translocal tenant power at the scale that can contend with the consolidation of rental housing ownership. This report leverages the toolkit’s unique data to provide insights into the racialized eviction and rent debt landscape in post-pandemic California, revealing the activity of the firms and lawyers driving it.

Cover page of (Des)ubicación: La Lucha por la Vivienda y la Comunidad Después de Echo Park Lake

(Des)ubicación: La Lucha por la Vivienda y la Comunidad Después de Echo Park Lake


Elaborado por el Colectivo de Investigación Después de Echo Park Lake, esta monografía analiza desplazamiento encabezado por el estado. Con un enfoque centrado en el desalojo violenta de la comunidad sin vivienda en Echo Park Lake, un parque publico en un barrio gentrificando de la ciudad cerca del centro, eso llama la atencion sobre cómo reclamos políticos de ubicaciónes de viviendas legitiman desubicación pero rara vez resulta en soluciones de la vivienda. A través de investigación etnográfica además de análisis de datos de la gestión de personas sin viviendas, eso expone la artimaña de la vivienda y llama la atención sobre un condición de dezplazabilidad definitiva por los pobres de la ciudad. Un hallazgo clave de la monografía es que en un tiempo de recursos de vivienda ampliados suscrito por fondos federales de emergencia y ayuda económica, tiene un inversión perversa de fondos públicos para la criminalización de pobreza y contención carcelaria de los personas sin viviendas. En marcado contraste con eso carceralidad están infraestructuras comunitarias imaginadas por los organizadores sin viviendas, incluye eso construyó y sostuvo en Echo Park Lake.

Cover page of (Dis)Placement: The Fight for Housing and Community After Echo Park Lake

(Dis)Placement: The Fight for Housing and Community After Echo Park Lake


Authored by the After Echo Park Lake research collective, this monograph analyzes processes of state-led displacement in Los Angeles. With a focus on the violent eviction of the unhoused community at Echo Park Lake, a public park in a gentrifying neighborhood of the city close to downtown, it draws attention to how political claims of housing placements legitimize such displacement but rarely result in housing outcomes. Through ethnographic research as well as analysis of homeless management data, it exposes this ruse of housing and draws attention to a condition of permanent displaceability for the city’s poor. A key finding of the monograph is that at a time of expanded housing resources underwritten by federal and state emergency and economic relief funds, there is a perverse investment of public funds in the criminalization of poverty and in the carceral containment of the unhoused. In sharp contrast to such carcerality are the infrastructures of community envisioned by unhoused organizers, including that which was built and sustained at Echo Park Lake.

Cover page of We Do Not Forget: Stolen Lives of LA’s Unhoused During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We Do Not Forget: Stolen Lives of LA’s Unhoused During the COVID-19 Pandemic


This report, undertaken by the After Echo Park Lake research collective, was homework assigned by unhoused comrades, especially those who are part of UTACH, Unhoused Tenants Against Carceral Housing. While the stark reality of unhoused deaths has long been a matter of concern, the COVID-19 pandemic brought surprising new challenges. As the report shows, in addition to deaths on the street, there were also deaths in hotels and motels, including in the emergency housing program, Project Roomkey. A large proportion of hotel/motel deaths are attributed by the coroner to drug and alcohol overdoses, a finding in keeping with general trends in unhoused deaths. As the report argues, it is crucially important to understand such deaths as evidence of the dislocation and trauma caused by housing insecurity and displacement as well as by carceral isolation in shelter and emergency housing programs. Drawing on the organizing by UTACH, Unhoused Tenants Against Carceral Housing, the report amplifies the demand for unconditional and humane permanent housing.

Cover page of Who Profits from Crisis? Housing Grabs in Time of Recovery

Who Profits from Crisis? Housing Grabs in Time of Recovery


In Los Angeles, and across the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded and exposed social and economic inequalities. It has also become starkly apparent that such inequalities are structured through racialized risk, the disproportionate and systematic exposure of working-class communities of color to unemployment, unsafe jobs, eviction, homelessness, displacement, and wealth loss. In this research brief, we draw attention to how crisis serves as the opportunity for housing grabs, by which we mean the unregulated acquisition of residential property by powerful corporate actors. With a focus on Los Angeles, we show how the Great Recession set the stage for a significant expansion of the corporate control of residential property in working-class communities of color and argue that there will be a similar capitalization of distress in such communities over the next few years. Dispensing of the myth of “mom and pop landlords,” we provide the first robust analysis of the different types of corporate landlords active in Los Angeles and the varied strategies of profit-making that they deploy in wealth accumulation.

Cover page of For the Crisis Yet to Come: Temporary Settlements in the Era of Evictions

For the Crisis Yet to Come: Temporary Settlements in the Era of Evictions


For the Crisis Yet to Come: Temporary Settlements in the Era of Evictions is the final report in a three-part series on housing justice and evictions during COVID-19, prepared and published by the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy. In keeping with guidance from unhoused people, legal advocates, and community-based researchers, this report strongly advises governments to sanction existing self-organized communities of unhoused people and maintain sanitation stations on-site. Additionally, this report cautiously recommends that area governments establish sanctioned and serviced temporary settlements, where tents and tiny structures can offer private, socially distanced forms of shelter to unhoused people. These recommendations are made with deep reservations, and with clear stipulations: settlements such as these should only be implemented alongside other, better measures; their existence does not justify sweeps of existing self-organized encampments; residence within these settlements must be voluntary, not compulsory; these sites should not be heavily policed or surveilled; and they are only appropriate as temporary forms of emergency shelter. This report is offered as guidance for policymakers and organizers alike seeking to better support housing insecure and unhoused people during and after the pandemic.

Cover page of Hotel California: Housing the Crisis

Hotel California: Housing the Crisis


Los Angeles is on the cusp of a surge in evictions and homelessness, with thousands of households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic likely to lose their housing. They will join the many thousands of Angelenos who are already unhoused in what is likely to be one of the largest mass displacements to unfold in the region. Black and Brown communities will bear the brunt of the crisis. Where will the currently unhoused and the newly unhoused go? Given the political failure to enact the tenant protections that would keep people in their homes, what are the plans for housing provision that must be put into place, without further ado, in order to meet this crisis? This report, the second publication in our Housing Justice in the Time of COVID-19 series, answers these pressing questions by laying out a comprehensive framework for the conversion of hospitality properties into housing through the large-scale public acquisition of tourist hotels and motels. We insist on immediate access to housing without conditions and with the guarantees of habitability and tenant rights. In addition, we argue for the conversion of such hotels and motels into social housing. In Los Angeles, publicly subsidized hotel development has mediated an extractive relationship between capital and community. It is time to redirect public resources and public purpose tools such as eminent domain for housing, especially in Black and Brown communities where public investment has primarily taken the form of policing and where the devastation of impending evictions will be most acutely felt.

Cover page of UD Day: Impending Evictions and Homelessness in Los Angeles

UD Day: Impending Evictions and Homelessness in Los Angeles


Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles was a hotspot of growing homelessness and severe housing insecurity for renter households. A stark manifestation of race and class inequality, this crisis is now set to get much worse. This UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy report, UD Day: Impending Evictions and Homelessness in Los Angeles, authored by Gary Blasi, Professor Emeritus at UCLA Law, projects a surge in evictions and homelessness that will follow the lifting of COVID-19 emergency orders. As argued in the report, and as repeatedly noted by community organizations and legal and policy advocates, such devastation could have been avoided through robust tenant protections, rent relief, and eviction moratoria at local, state, and federal levels of government. The first publication in our Housing Justice in the Time of COVID-19 series, the report foregrounds the urgency of organizing and pressing public officials at all levels of government to plan and prepare for a potential humanitarian disaster of hunger and homelessness on a scale not seen in any urban area of any industrialized country in the past 90 years.

Cover page of Metodologías para la justicia de la vivienda: Guia de recursos

Metodologías para la justicia de la vivienda: Guia de recursos


Esta Guía de Recursos es el resultado de un Instituto de Verano sobre Metodologías para la Justicia en la Vivienda convocado por el Instituto sobre Desigualdad y Democracia de UCLA Luskin como parte de la Red de Justicia en la Vivienda en Ciudades Desiguales, que es apoyada por la Fundación Nacional de Ciencias (BCS 1758774). Celebrado en Los Ángeles en agosto de 2019, el Instituto de Verano reunió a participantes de ciudades de todo el mundo. Al igual que el alcance y el propósito general de la Red de Justicia en las Ciudades Desiguales, creó un terreno compartido de para estudiosos del movimiento y académicos de universidades. Con una insatisfacción a los métodos canónicos que se utilizan en los estudios sobre la vivienda y guiado por los movimientos de justicia de la vivienda que son comunidades de investigación activa, el Instituto de verano se basó en la afirmación de que la metodología es política. La metodología se basa en argumentos sobre el mundo e implica relaciones de poder y conocimiento. El método por sí mismo -ya sea el contra ataque al mapeo o los diarios de la genteno asegura una ética de solidaridad y un propósito de justicia. Tales objetivos requieren metodologías para la liberación. Por lo tanto, como es evidente en esta Guía de Recursos, nuestro esfuerzo pone en primer plano los métodos innovadores que están siendo utilizados por los investigadores en todo el mundo académico y el activismo y sitúa explícitamente tales métodos en una orientación hacia la vivienda la justicia.

Cover page of Methodologies for Housing Justice Resource Guide

Methodologies for Housing Justice Resource Guide


This Resource Guide is the outcome of a Summer Institute on Methodologies for Housing Justice convened by the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin as part of the Housing Justice in Unequal Cities Network, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS 1758774). Held in Los Angeles in August 2019, the Summer Institute brought together participants from cities around the world. As is the case with the overall scope and purpose of the Housing Justice in Unequal Cities Network, it created a shared terrain of scholarship for movement-based and university-based scholars. Dissatisfied with the canonical methods that are in use in housing studies and guided by housing justice movements that are active research communities, the Summer Institute was premised on the assertion that methodology is political. Methodology is rooted in arguments about the world and involves relations of power and knowledge. The method itself – be it countermapping or people’s diaries – does not ensure an ethics of solidarity and a purpose of justice. Such goals require methodologies for liberation. Thus, as is evident in this Resource Guide, our endeavor foregrounds innovative methods that are being used by researchers across academia and activism and explicitly situates such methods in an orientation towards housing justice.