California’s Renters Are In Crisis

I have been in the development world since 1996 and a developer on my own now for 12 years – and I know personally the impact that having a stable home can do for a family. I do not come from wealth. I am a “first generation developer.” My mom was a single mom and worked as a waitress and a home health care worker earning slightly above minimum wage all of the years that she worked. We were always renters and we moved a lot because of the cost of housing – first in Illinois and then again in California.

I now own 449 rental units in 7 apartment complexes that I personally developed from the ground up. I own 16,700 square feet of commercial real estate and 6 single family homes in San Diego County. Let me be clear – my business is not a charity – but California’s housing market is out of control and we must regulate rent increases. Too many families are being pushed into homelessness all because we force them to pay whatever the market will bear. I have created housing, and I know that we can build even more housing while still protecting tenants at the same time.

Let’s put this into perspective for my fellow homeowners. Can you imagine what would happen if every time someone bought your mortgage, they had the right to increase the interest rate to whatever ‘market’ level they deemed necessary in order to make a profit they deemed sufficient?  Imagine how often your mortgage would be traded and how quickly your rate would rise and how much of your income would need to put toward your mortgage just to stay in your home. Can you imagine if interest rates weren’t regulated and could even double or triple in a single year?

This is what happens with apartments. Each time someone new buys an apartment building, there is no limit on what is a ‘reasonable profit’ for the new buyer to seek through rent increases. Our system is far from just broken – it’s unsustainable.

That is why I am supporting the legislative package to Keep Families Home. This legislative package is made up of three bills:

AB 36 authored by Assemblymember Bloom, will reform Costa-Hawkins to remove allowing cities to expand protections for renters if they so choose.

AB 1482  authored by Assemblymember Chiu, will provide stability to all renters in California by preventing rent gouging and dramatic increases in rents.

AB 1481, authored by Assemblymember Bonta, will help protect all Californians from baseless and unjust evictions.

This legislation is about bringing fairness into our system and bring protections to the 17 million Californians that rent. Every modern market is regulated, all basic necessities such as food, water and energy, are regulated. Why not rents?

Simple, reasonable regulations of the rental housing market can help keep families in their homes.

We should not be subsidizing greed. Investors should be able to receive a fair return but rent gouging and unfair evictions should not be the path to a reasonable return on investment.

With millions of families just one rent increase away from eviction we must protect renters now. These protections will not slow the construction of housing but they will keep families home. Join me and tell your state legislators to support these bills.

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Ginger Hitzke

Ginger Hitzke

Ginger Hitzke, the President of Hitzke Development Corporation, is a first-generation real estate developer and has 23 years of experience in the field of affordable housing development. Ms. Hitzke has participated in the development of over 1,500 apartments and affordable homes totaling more than $430,000,000 in real estate activity throughout California. Ms. Hitzke began her career at Affirmed Housing Group in San Diego first as an Administrative Assistant then as a Project Coordinator, Project Manager, Senior Project Manager and Vice President of Development. After serving as Vice President of Development for Affirmed Housing Group, she formed Hitzke Development. She specializes in the development of affordable rental housing (including permanent supportive housing) on infill, transit-oriented sites. Ginger is an active member of the communities that she serves. Her current nonprofit involvement includes: San Diego Housing Federation: current board member, past President, liaison to Residents United Network Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN): current Treasurer and past-President Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos: current board member and Executive Committee member, member of the Capital Improvements Committee, member of the Auction Committee San Marcos Chamber of Commerce: current Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee Circulate San Diego: President-elect (to serve in 2020), member of the Executive Committee and member of the Development Committee As a youth, Ms. Hitzke grew up in a lower-income single parent household. Growing up, housing affordability, among other domestic issues, was a problem. Her family moved often and she attended many different schools. She was labeled as a disruptive troublemaker quite early on and struggled with school throughout her entire childhood. Fortunately, she was able to attend a continuation high school in Vista, California and was finally able to thrive in school although housing stability remained an issue for her until she was an adult. Because of her personal experience, matters relating to housing and economic security for all are of great importance to her. She currently lives in Temecula, California with her husband, 20 year retired enlisted Navy veteran, Eric, their 24 and 14 year old sons and their 7 cats and dogs.

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