Stevenson Commons tenants face looming rent hike

Tenants of affordable housing units at the Stevenson Commons could see their rents spike due to a $30 million proposal to rehabilitate the building.



At a public meeting on the issue Monday, some of the tenants said they felt disrespected.



Maguerita Escobar, who has lived there for 13 years, says the 5 percent rent hike each year for the next four years isn't worth it.



"The rehabilitation of the building is overrated," she says.



The project would include new or improved boilers, elevators, kitchens, bathrooms and common areas, the property manager says.



Two-hundred low-income residents learned at the meeting that they could become eligible for section 8 rent vouchers.



Tenants earning under the income limit will be forced to pay 30 percent of their income as rent. The voucher will cover the balance.



Others, like Escobar, earn too much to qualify.



"A 5 percent increase of the next four years will be a hardship for me, because I am a single mother," she says.



State Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda says he wants to help people like Escobar.



"Those are the people we are going to have to protect, because in some cases, those people have lived there for 30, 40 years," he says. "They should not be thrown out of their apartments."


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