Who We Are
LiBRE is a grassroots community organizing group advancing justice in disadvantaged communities through creation and preservation of affordable housing, renter protections and community economic development. We are a resident-led, bottom up, organization that began by approximately 30 seasoned Long Beach community leaders.
We began meeting in January 2016 to address the need for more tenant-led organizing in the City. For 6 months, these leaders met on a weekly basis to develop the mission of the organization and complete a community based strategic planning process. LiBRE officially launched publicly in September of 2016 with our Housing Crisis Bus Tour on National Renters Day of Action. Since then, LiBRE has been actively involved in base building and power building activities connected to local, regional, state-wide and national campaigns around issues of gentrification and displacement, housing preservation and creation, renters’ rights and community economic development.
The Long Beach Housing Crisis
Long Beach is home to nearly 500,000 residents and almost 60% of them are renters. There is currently a 2% vacancy rate in parts of the City where low income residents reside. The City is far behind in meeting its affordable housing development needs. The City was informed by SCAG in 2013 that it needed to produce over 4,000 affordable units by 2021 to meet its existing affordable housing needs, yet the City has produced less than 200 affordable units over the last 4 years. According to the City’s most recent Housing Element, 4 out of 5 of the City’s Very Low Income households experience one or more housing problems (e.g. cost burden, overcrowding and/or substandard housing conditions). The City currently has no dedicated source of revenue for building affordable housing, no inclusionary housing policy and no housing impact fee. Rents in the City have increased at a rate of 10.8% in the last year. Low income renters live in substandard housing conditions and fear retaliation by landlords if they ask for repairs. Even when tenants do call code enforcement, inspectors are non-responsive and ineffective. On average, 27% of all renters are paying more than 50% of their income for rent. More than 4,000 people are homeless in Long Beach. After being closed for more than 12 years, the waiting list for Section 8 opened for about a month and received more than 19,000 applications. In short, our housing crisis is at a historic level.