Spitfire worked with Monument Impact, a Bay Area nonprofit, to enact legislation that meaningfully addresses ongoing landlord harassment of renters in Contra Costa County, part of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Spitfire helped Monument Impact and its partners develop a priority list of council members and messaging to persuade those council members. Spitfire also worked with coalition partners to develop and execute tactics, such as emails, calls and testimony, to appeal to them. We likewise helped place earned media, including an op-ed from Monument Impact’s executive director in the East Bay Times and coverage on KQED (the Bay Area’s NPR affiliate) and KRON4. The legislation overcame opposition from the California Apartment Association, an advocacy group operating on behalf of landlords, and was enacted in June 2022.
In 2020, Spitfire began engagement with Monument Impact. One of the issues it focuses on is a safe, stable, affordable home for all neighbors in its home base of Contra Costa County, part of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. During the pandemic, keeping such a home became increasingly difficult as greedy landlords put profit ahead of renters. As more and more renters lost wages or jobs entirely as a result of COVID-19, more and more landlords sent threatening correspondence or illegal eviction notices, refusing to abide by California’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which protected tenants from eviction; illegally barged into homes and demanded back rent; and initiated “renovations” during which renters could not reside inside the home, targeting only the renters who struggled to pay in hopes they would not return when the repairs were complete.
Monument Impact responded by working with partners to draft legislation for the city council in Concord to consider. Concord is the county seat, where Monument Impact is headquartered and where most of its clients live. That legislation, which was enacted in June 2022, will meaningfully address landlord harassment of tenants and provide for enforcement and penalties on Concord’s unscrupulous landlords. The legislation will help provide relief for renters and serve as a foundation on which to build in other cities throughout Contra Costa County to help turn the region into a place where all can thrive, no matter their background or resources.