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Interview: Fear of eviction perpetuates unhealthy living conditions

Courtesy of John Bauters
A neglected house in Emeryville.

This is part of our series  “Persistent Poison: Lead’s Toxic Legacy in the Bay Area,” an in-depth look at childhood lead poisoning in the region. In part two of the series, a family said they were afraid to complain to their landlord about unsafe living conditions because they worried they'd get evicted. When they complained, they say, their landlord kicked them out. Housing advocates see this and similar situations a lot — they call it predatory habitability.

"We see it with all kinds of conditions, like pest infestations, mold repair issues, just generally unmaintained properties with unsafe living conditions, and it is with a lot of newer immigrants more than anything - usually monolingual speakers non-English monolingual speakers."

Jacqueline Ramirez is Associate Fair Housing Director at a Bay Area fair housing agency, Project Sentinel.