About EPACT

 

The challenge of finding and retaining affordable housing confronts most low-income residents of East Palo Alto. Over half of the residents of East Palo Alto are tenants, ninety-three percent of whom are people of color.

EPACT believes that adequate affordable housing is fundamental to the development of healthy productive individuals and families, if they are to make civic contributions to the general well being of society.

The mission of EPACT and EPACT Education Fund is to protect and promote the rights, common good and general welfare of the tenant residents of East Palo Alto, California through preserving and creating quality affordable housing for low and moderate income residents, advocacy, lobbying, conducting research, education, mobilizing, and tenant empowerment.

Specifically, EPACT and EPACT Education Fund work to:

  • assist individual residents with housing problems as well as identifying stable and healthful housing
  • advise and advocate on behalf of groups of residents in building complexes, neighborhoods or tenants' unions
  • address the need for community-wide tenant organizing, education, and coalition building
  • educate tenants about their rights through flyers, brochures, workshops, and monthly meetings
  • gather and disseminate data about tenant communities
  • change public policy to guarantee fair and equal housing to all East Palo Alto residents

Originally named the West of Bayshore Tenants and Homeowners Association in 1981, EPACT was renamed in 1984. The members early realized that renters could only be protected against arbitrary rent increases and evictions through the incorporation of East Palo Alto. EPACT organized renters and joined forces with other community members, who organized as the East Palo Alto Citizens Committee for Incorporation (EPACCI), and eventually succeeded in the city's incorporation in 1983. In honor of the indispensable support from the renter community, the first action of the newly installed East Palo Alto City Council on July 1, 1983 was the imposition of a rent increase moratorium, followed by an interim Rent Stabilization Ordinance, followed by the current East Palo Alto Rent Stabilization and Good Cause for Eviction Ordinance of 1988. This ordinance and others that EPACT has advocated provided peace of mind and protection from unjust abuse to thousands of East Palo Alto residents.

Since then, EPACT has been East Palo Alto residents' principal pro-city grassroots group in an unbroken history of community service. Every major political campaign to protect and advance the city has heavily involved members of EPACT. The primary goal of EPACT is to protect East Palo Alto residents from unfair rents and arbitrary evictions. However, EPACT's overriding purpose is to preserve and empower the community. As a result, EPACT has become involved in many aspects of community service. A commitment to community service is evident in EPACT's long history of working with other organizations to strengthen the community. EPACT has held community meetings about health care, education, and housing. EPACT is currently in partnership with East Palo Alto CAN DO and East Palo Alto HAS to ensure that housing needs and overall standards of living improve. EPACT continues to ensure that the goals of incorporation are met in order to empower the diverse residents of East Palo Alto and to prevent their displacement from the community.

In 1989, EPACT saw the need to expand its work to address more systematically the underlying causes of tenant powerlessness and the threat of displacement. As a result, the EPACT Education Fund was established to provide educational opportunities to the community, thus keeping East Palo Alto residents informed about issues that effect the quality and affordability of housing for residents.

The EPACT Education Fund is the principle source of communication for the community about local events. Since 1992, the EPACT Education Fund has published the East Palo Alto Community Bulletin Board that appears in the Palo Alto Weekly, which benefits both the city of East Palo Alto and the city of Palo Alto. The EPACT Education Fund has served on many campaigns to inform the community about issues of vital concern regarding the well-being of the entire community.