There is an ongoing housing crisis throughout the state of California, currently worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost of living in California is higher than it's ever been, with opportunities for affordable housing few and far between. CNC is building power throughout the state to advocate for our neighbors' housing needs. In Indio, Lead Organizer Anna Lisa Vargas is bringing awareness to this issue by advocating for Indio residents through speaking at city council meetings, meeting with elected representatives, and writing about the housing issue in local publications. You can read Anna Lisa's Letter to the Editor on Indio's housing crisis, here. Below is Anna Lisa's statement from an Indio City Council meeting, highlighting her concerns on the ongoing housing issue in Indio.
Lead Organizer Anna Lisa Vargas' public comment from Indio's City Council Meeting on July 21st, 2021:
Good evening Mayor Holmes, Mayor Pro Tem Fermon, Council Members, and Mr. Montgomery. I’m Anna Lisa Vargas, Lead Community Organizer with Communities for a New California.
I would like to thank the City Manager, Bryan Montgomery, for meeting with community residents on July 7th to discuss affordable housing and strategies to increase opportunities for the development of affordable housing for our working families and residents. It was a very fruitful conversation and we look forward to working with the City and other partners on this priority issue.
A few days ago, I saw footage on Instagram from a June 2nd city council meeting where the housing crisis Indio residents are facing was being discussed. Councilwoman Lupe Ramos Amith appeared to show little interest in the topic as she was preoccupied with changing her backgrounds and playing with filters on zoom. At one point, she was donning a pair of shades. What is concerning, is that it appears that not everyone is on the same page when it comes to prioritizing the needs of our community regarding affordable housing.
This type of behavior is not only disrespectful to the council but to the community as a whole. At this time, it is imperative to prioritize our working families and residents to prevent displacement and further hardship.
We hope that this is not an indication of how you will prioritize important housing policies and goals that will be brought forth to the council for a vote. Our families and residents deserve better. We strongly recommend that the city have a pro-housing designation or jurisdiction as other cities have done. The city could earn points and preferences in grant programs, which would assist with fund implementation of the housing element program. We expect to see action and change when it comes to developing more affordable and quality housing opportunities in the City of Indio. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.