Struggling to Live Comfortably

Ana+Urzua+of+Santa+Ana+Building+Healthy+Communities+speaks+during+a+rally+outside+of+Santa+Ana+City+Hall+in+Santa+Ana+on+Tuesday+afternoon%2C+April+3%2C+2018%2C+to+protest+high+rents+in+the+city.+Citizens+groups+are+filing+paperwork+Tuesday+with+the+Santa+Ana+city+clerk+to+launch+a+signature-gathering+campaign+to+get+a+rent+control+initiative+on+the+November+ballot.+%28Photo+by+Mark+Rightmire%2C+Orange+County+Register%2FSCNG%29

Staff Photographer

Ana Urzua of Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities speaks during a rally outside of Santa Ana City Hall in Santa Ana on Tuesday afternoon, April 3, 2018, to protest high rents in the city. Citizens groups are filing paperwork Tuesday with the Santa Ana city clerk to launch a signature-gathering campaign to get a rent control initiative on the November ballot. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Guadalupe Guzman, Contributer

Living comfortably and affordably is one of the main goals that many people have in life. But when one is struggling to have an affordable living and out of nowhere, you are told that you are unable to work due to the pandemic, your plans are then impacted severely. And although the state governor offered some economic help for rent, this help is only for a short amount of time. What will you do and how will you find the money to pay your future bills and rent? Keep in mind, you can’t move to another place because there aren’t any affordable places and the reoccurring housing crisis in your city. What now?

The city of Santa Ana has recently been facing housing and rent problems for the past months. From the increase of the rent payment throughout the past months to even before the pandemic, the housing crisis and rent control has always been the main struggle and recurring concern for the Santa Ana residents. As stated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a household is considered to be rent-burdened when residents pay more than 30% of its income for housing. According to American Community Survey data, the rent burden in Santa Ana has increased from 33.3% to 36.5% between the years of  2010-2018. Some of the households of Santa Ana pay more than 50% of their income to rent. Now imagine being someone who has financial problems or being one of the many low-income families who are having trouble finding an affordable place for their family. These types of conflicts have caused disagreements within the city, especially during the pandemic. Many families are disemployed, struggling financially, with low-income, or even homeless making it hard to find an affordable place with the high rent prices and housing problems. As mentioned by the Voice of OC, the Housing Opportunity Ordinance (HOO), is a policy that states that new developments in Santa Ana are required to create affordable units and refurbish older housing units, which the city council plans to get rid of. Without the support of the city, who will the citizens go to for help?

Working in a job that pays you minimum wage and having a family to support, rent can become a difficult obstacle to overcome. Now, not many people take action against it or speak up about this due to either avoiding any conflicts/ disagreements with the property manager or just don’t know how to exactly. There are definitely groups of people coming together to start a movement in the city and trying to create some change, such as the Tenants United Santa Ana, a group that was created to collect enough signatures to get a rent control initiative on the November 2020 ballot. In fact, this would be the second time this group has tried to do something about rent control. As previously mentioned, even though there are some people in the city trying to voice their concerns, form groups, and make petitions, it is of no use if not enough residents are willing to offer support and city officials. Which makes it hard for them to make a change in the community.