The Committee For Racial Justice (CRJ) will be gathering by Zoom on Sunday, Jan. 3, at 6:30 p.m., to kick off the New Year by examining a topic that is most pressing in a number of households. During this time of unprecedented economic upheaval, numerous reports claim that one third of our country’s inhabitants will face housing insecurity in the coming months. We know that the moratorium on evictions has been extended to the end of January for most LA County residents and ends March 30 for Santa Monicans, but what then?

Most people will not be in a position to pay back all the past rent or mortgage payments due. And because the corona virus has impacted the Black and Brown communities disproportionately, it is our neighbors in these communities that are at the highest risk of losing their homes, if that hasn’t happened already due to illness and job loss.

We want to see what is being done to avert this looming crisis and where we need to be supporting those efforts and advocating for even more solutions. On the night of 1/3/21 a panel of experts will inform and guide us through this treacherous landscape and help us discuss what can be done. Among our panel members will be Commissioners Anastasia Foster and Caroline Torosis, both of whom serve on the Santa Monica Rent Control Board. Another panelist will be Stephano Medina from the Eviction Defense Network in Los Angeles.

Anastasia also serves on the Housing Sub-committee of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights and has been a Landlord and a small business owner, which gives her a unique perspective to understand both sets of stakeholders. She works on a broad range of housing issues and is part of the Right to Counsel Coalition of Los Angeles. She has been a repeat panelist at Housing CA and works with jurisdictions up and down the state on issues surrounding rent control.

Caroline is an attorney who serves as the Director of Economic and Business Development at WDACS (the LA County department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services), where she promotes policy and program development to spur economic mobility and works toward equitable and inclusive community development. She has spearheaded the County’s efforts to raise the minimum wage, develop the Center for Financial Empowerment, and negotiate repayment agreements between homeowners and banks to avoid foreclosure.

Stephano grew up in Los Angeles and is the son of Ecuadorean immigrants. He is currently a Skadden Fellow at the Eviction Defense Network in Los Angeles, working on anti-gentrification policy and litigation alongside his sister, another EDN staff attorney handling eviction cases. This past spring, he graduated from UCLA Law with a certificate in Critical Race Theory and Public Interest Law. Before law school, he worked as a community organizer in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In addition to local issues, the panel will also discuss LA County, CA state, and federal efforts to mitigate a tsunami of evictions and foreclosures. There will time for Q & A after their presentations.

The zoom link for Sun. evening, Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m. is:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87608169156?pwd=UWRlR2Nld1oxNm5ZNzc4Qko2UjNNdz09

By Phone +1 408 638 0968

Meeting ID: 876 0816 9156

Passcode: 347875

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Submitted by Joanne Berlin