We, the Suwannee St. Johns Sierra Club (SSJ) would like to express our formal endorsement of the comprehensive Renters’ Rights ordinance proposal put forward by the Alachua County Labor Coalition (ACLC). Renters in this community are due basic rights and protections such as a safe place to live, freedom from discrimination and negligent landlords, affordable utility bills, and disclosure of their rights and responsibilities as tenants.
The proposal put forward by the ACLC, in consultation with City and County Commissioners and Florida Legal Services as well as landlords, renters, neighborhood associations, faith communities, civic organizations, and other stakeholders throughout our community, is revenue-neutral, based upon existing programs with a demonstrated track record of success, and builds on existing services.
SSJ is supporting this proposal as part of its Ready for 100% campaign. As reported in the 2017 Energy Burden study produced by UF’s College of Journalism and Communications, “substandard, inefficient housing is also a factor, particularly in the rental market. Despite more than a decade of community efforts to fix inferior homes, some of Gainesville’s poorest renters still live without basic attic insulation or updated, efficient appliances that keep families comfortable in addition to saving them money and energy.” Achieving the goal of 100% clean renewable energy by 2050 is possible only if all of our local housing stock is energy efficient.
The proposals put forward by the ACLC are not a definitive solution for solving our community’s affordable housing or energy challenges, but they are a solid start. We believe all renters in our community deserve the basic rights and protections described in the ACLC’s proposal.