Owners Helping Owners
That is the motto of the Apartment Association, California Southern Cities, Inc. , a non-profit trade association created in Long Beach since 1924. AACSC has become known as the voice of the rental housing industry by helping to solve housing issues throughout southern Los Angeles county that range from tax problems and rent control to habitability problems and lead abatement ordinances.
At the forefront of creating a statewide network of apartment associations whose members are concerned about the challenges facing today's urban property owners, the AACSC's history is as rich as the very important role it fills. It has been an integral part of the history of Long Beach since back in the early days when oil first popped up on Signal Hill. Starting in 1923, it began as a committee of the Chamber of Commerce, whose first task was to help the city plan for the housing needs of its quickly growing citizenry. Historical documents indicate that 10,000 people a day were coming to Los Angeles County during those years. Many were attracted to the area by the discovery of oil, while others were drawn by the rapid growth of a wonderful new industry called the Movies. All of them needed a place to live.
A Growing Success
On May 28, 1924, the committee became a permanent organization called the Long Beach Apartment House Association. It was officially founded with 23 members attending the first meeting held at its temporary headquarters, the Silver Bow apartment building on Cedar Avenue. As it grew, the association moved to its first real office located at 115 Pine Avenue. By July 1969, the association was able to purchase its first building located at 555 East 3rd Street. Its headquarters remained there until 1979, when it purchased a 5,000-square foot building on Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach's Bixby Knolls. The Association is proud of it’s current location, the office condominium building at 333 W. Broadway, Suite 101, in the heart of downtown Long Beach.
Since its early days at the Silver Bow apartment building, the Association has evolved to become the AACSC with a membership approaching 3,000 members strong. While it is still based in Long Beach, it services an area that reaches as far north as Marina del Rey and as far inland as Whittier and La Mirada. It also includes the coastal cities from El Segundo to as far south as the Orange County border.
An Altruistic Ally
Since its inception, the AACSC has developed an intricate partnership with municipal officials in the cities and county we serve that couples property owners with elected representatives and staffs in trying to create the best rental housing environment possible. The partnership - one that the association feels is extremely important - is also evident at the state and national levels where it also fights to preserve the property rights of owners. Partnership projects include those with the Golden State Housing Providers, an organization of other California area’s apartment associations, which sponsors legislative days in Sacramento for property owners; the Mayor's Real Estate Industry Breakfast; t he Education Summit of California; local Youth & Safety Summits (formerly known as Crime Summits); the Long Beach Advocacy Coalition, and many more. AACSC has also been involved in the strategic planning of Long Beach for the past 15 years through the efforts of its many board members and executive officers who have sat on or chaired city committees or coalitions. Several members in the association's 54-city service area have also been mayors and city council members. At the National level we are a member and participate in the leadership of the National Apartment Association and the National Multi-Housing Council, which provides legislative representation on the Federal level.
"Private property rights were a concern of our forefathers addressed in the Bill of Rights," says Clive Graham, Board President of AACSC. "We make it a point to educate people about the proper management of their property and teach them how to comply with local laws and ordinances. We do this by holding seminars, meetings and training sessions with managers and owners." While there are many individual property owners who participate in these programs, the AACSC also works with larger groups such as the Los Angeles County Housing Authority, whose managers it is contracted to train.
In addition to educating members in classroom settings, the AACSC provides a monthly magazine and website as well as services for property owners and management groups. These services include running credit reports on prospective tenants, providing counseling for owners and managers when they have questions or problems regarding tenants, and supplying them with the proper court-approved management forms.. AACSC also provides members with a complete vendor referral system that puts them in contact with everyone from general contractors, plumbers, electricians and roofers to companies that offer accounting services, pest control, appliance sales, repair and rentals.
Each year AACSC also sponsors California's largest exposition and trade show for the rental housing industry. First presented in 1964, this dynamic event attracts the largest number of property owners, managers, investors, real estate agents, brokers, builders and developers in the state by offering workshops and seminars on current issues affecting rental housing. Participating exhibitors also give attendees the chance to preview the newest products and services available to the industry.
The Golden Triangle
With more than 60 percent of the people in the Long Beach area live in rental housing. We believe that the basis of the community is the "Golden Triangle." In order to have a vibrant economy in a community, there has to be an Educated Work Force. However, a community cannot attract that educated work force without there being Quality, Affordable Housing at all levels. The Corridors of Transportation connect those two and make up the three sides of the triangle - vibrant economy, an educated work force and affordable housing - but it is the housing that makes it all happen!