By Da Lin

ALAMEDA (KPIX) – Demonstrators rallied in Alameda Saturday afternoon to keep a Holocaust survivor from being evicted from his apartment.

Musiy Rishin said his landlord first tried to increase his rent by about $700 a month. When he objected, he said the landlord served him with an eviction notice.

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“This is simply killing me. I have been living here for 17 years with my wife and with my son. They’re both gone now. And this place keeps their memories. And I cannot even imagine leaving this place. It’s like leaving them,” said Rishin.

His daughter translated for him since he speaks limited English.

The 87-year-old man is on a fixed income and has a Section 8 voucher. Housing advocates say Alameda’s rent ordinance does not protect Section 8 tenants from no-cause evictions. They’re working to change that.

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Advocates rallied in front of Rishin’s apartment complex at 2445 Shoreline Drive in Alameda to show their support.

“To be forced out in this housing market, on their income. I mean it’s a death sentence. It’s homelessness,” said Catherine Pauling with the Alameda Renters Coalition.

Rishin and his father fled Ukraine in 1941 when he was nine years old. He said the Nazis were bombing their hometown. His landlord’s attorney Todd Rothbard said he sympathized with the Holocaust survivor, but said the high cost of housing is a regional issue. He doesn’t believe the landlord should subsidized Rishin’s rent. The apartment complex is located next to the bay and has great views. The owner wants to bring the rent up to market rate.

“They want to be outraged and they want to make this the problem of the landlord. And I think that’s unfair. This is a burden that should be spread across society, should not be a burden placed on their landlord,” said Rothbard.

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The City of Alameda will host a community meeting on Thursday evening to talk about the proposed changes to its rent ordinance.