A small group composed mostly of renters gathered last Friday morning in front of a downtown Long Beach apartment building to protest what they claimed were the unfair evictions of its tenants.
Their presence was unexpected, and their message equally unanticipated, considering that it had been months since the last time renter protections were brought to the Long Beach City Council floor. Better Housing for Long Beach (BHLB), not to be confused with the renters’ advocacy group Housing Long Beach (HLB), is a new grassroots organization that was formed earlier this year, with designs of becoming a mainstay at city hall.
For nearly six weeks after moving into his First District apartment late last year, Ken Roth was without properly working plumbing in his home. There was standing water in the sinks and bathtubs, a broken dishwasher and every time he used the garbage disposal, his downstairs neighbors’ light fixtures filled with water.
The stench coming from broken sewage pipe underneath his home was so repulsive that when police officers showed up to the unit they thought there might be a dead body under it. There were planks leading from the ripped out kitchen to the non-existent bathroom in the unit that housed 6 people under the premise of being a “sober living facility.” And for over two months, Hippie Chuck, as he prefers to be called, and the rest of the occupants were forced to defecate and urinate in a bucket while they waited for their landlord to make necessary repairs.