In California, Corporate Interests Fight Housing Solutions

David versus Goliath might be a stretch. In one corner is the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), a progressive activist group. In the other is the California Apartment Association (CAA), a property owner organization. ACCE is alleging that the CAA is blocking local and statewide solutions to the housing crisis, e.g., tenant protection policies and eviction moratoriums.

ACCE recently released a report titled “From Housing Providers to Drivers of Homelessness: How the California Apartment Association’s Wall Street leadership spent at least $233 million to block housing solutions.”

Here are this report’s highlights. “Since 2017, CAA spent nearly $7 million in lobbying the governor, his administration and state legislature, and made over $140 million in contributions to impact state and local candidate races or ballot measures. Several of the largest Wall Street corporate landlords in the country are on the CAA board. Collectively, CAA board Wall Street members own a minimum of 445,422 homes in California, nearly 10% of all renter-occupied housing units in the state.”

That is not all the ACCE report finds. “Six mega corporate landlords (four of them are board members) account for 50% ($70 million) of the political contributions of its committees — meaning; CAA donated, in 2022, to 84 of 120 state legislators (70%) including 78% of the state Assembly (63).

“CAA met with the governor’s office 16 of the last 24 quarters (67%). Eight of those meetings were with (Democratic) Governor Newsom. CAA opposed consumer protections for renters including at least eight local efforts at rent stabilization and protections against unjust evictions related to COVID impact.”

Mike Nemeth, a CAA spokesperson, declined a request for comment.

Anya Svanoe is an ACCE spokesperson. “Senate Bill 567, The Homelessness Prevention Act and our primary bill this year, originally sought to lower the state’s rent cap from 10% to 5%,” she said via email. “It also sought to close the loopholes in the just cause eviction protections. While the bill still does some important things—like making it more difficult for landlords to fraudulently do a substantial renovation eviction or owner move-in eviction and strengthens enforcement of AB 1482—the bill’s scope was reduced significantly due to the lobbying of CAA.” The CAA also fought the passing of rent control and tenant anti-harassment in Antioch and just cause in San Diego, according to her.

Gov. Newsom signed (SB 567) into law at the end of September.  The Homelessness Prevention Act, co-sponsored by ACCE, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, PICO California, Public Advocates, and Western Center on Law and Poverty, triumphed against wealth and the political power it shapes.

Meanwhile, at Camp Resolution in Sacramento, the capital city of California, Shonn Adams, a 54-year-old female, shelters with her spouse, Steven Goble, according to Jovanna Fajardo, who helms the local ACCE chapter. Shonn, disabled since 2016, lost her job at SBC about eight years ago, and could not afford the rent after unemployment insurance payments stopped. Shonn was always $60 short.

That $60 kept accumulating and eventually Shonn’s property owner served her with an eviction notice, one that lacked a court date. She missed court by one day. Their property owner evicted them. They became homeless.

While living at the river, Shonn fell and broke her ankle severely, then had surgery. Later, she could not attend her physical therapy appointments, eventually becoming unable to walk. The couple lacks transportation. Further, Shonn suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure. She has an oxygen tank 24/7 that costs $700 a month from using a generator for electricity.

“I just want to be normal again in a home,” Shonn said in tears, “where I can shower and be able to cook again, but mostly I really want to shower, I can’t do this anymore, I’m a person just like anyone else, I want a home a place of security and a kitchen.” The couple’s dog and cat shelter with them at Camp Resolution.

Read ACCE’s report at

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Email