Fair Housing Community Loses Longtime Tenant Advocate, Joe Caux

Fair Housing Council of Orange County
201 S. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701 

714/569-0825

Contact:  Connie Der Torossian, Community Relations, or
D. Elizabeth Pierson, President/CEO
714/569-0825 or 714/313-8699

Sept. 27, 2001

FAIR HOUSING COMMUNITY LOSES JOE CAUX, EARLY ADVOCATE AND PASSIONATE ACTIVIST WHO HELPED THOUSANDS OF ORANGE COUNTY TENANTS

SANTA ANA, CALIF., September 27, 2001…The Fair Housing Council of Orange County announced today that Joe Caux, 55, housing rights program manager and longtime Fair Housing advocate, died last Saturday of accidental causes while attending a Green Party meeting in Northern California. Caux, a resident of Huntington Beach, was an early advocate for fair housing and tenants’ rights in Orange County, having been active in housing issues since 1977.

"It is rare you meet a person like Joe, who was so very passionate about his work, political activism and furthering tenants’ rights," said Elizabeth Pierson, president and CEO of the Fair Housing of Orange County. "He truly cared about people and his tremendous contributions to tenants’ rights and Fair Housing will be sadly missed."

Caux worked with the Fair Housing Council of Orange County for the past 12 years and was currently the manager for the Housing Rights and Landlord/Tenant Programs. In that position, Caux was responsible for coordinating, training and supervising the landlord/tenant counseling staff and managing the daily operations of those programs. He also worked to resolve complex landlord/tenant problems by mediating cases and assisting clients with small claims court actions. Caux answered tens of thousands of calls and settled hundred of disputes during his tenure at the agency and was considered the "guru" of landlord/tenant law in the housing industry in Orange County.

Caux was also very politically active. First, in the 1970’s, working directly for organizing efforts such as the Campaign for Economic Democracy and the United Farm Workers. Later, while employed in the private sector and by community service organizations, he pursued his activism, especially for housing, outside of the workplace.

He was a founding member of the Orange County Renters Association (OCRA) where he served at various times as executive director and chair of the board of directors. OCRA was instrumental in the 1980’s in bringing about the creation of affordable housing and promoting legislation to secure more equitable treatment for tenants. In 1991, he was a founding director of the Affordable Housing Clearing-House. He served on the board of directors the Orange County Homeless Issues Task Force, and held various positions for Neighborhood Improvement Program of Anaheim and the California Housing Action and Information Network.

More recently, he had become active in speaking out against the move toward economic globalization and working with the Green Party. He had organized the Justice for Tenants Campaign, a grassroots effort to oppose a Huntington Beach anti rent control initiative set to appear on the March ballot. He saw his organizing against the measure a perfect opportunity to merge his passion for tenants’ rights with a political organizing opportunity to build the fledgling Green Party.

A funeral service will take place Sunday, September 30 at 1:30 p.m. The location will be the Church or Religious Science, 7641 Talbert Avenue in Huntington Beach. In lieu of flowers, family members have asked that donations, in his memory, be sent to the Green Party of Orange County or the American Red Cross.

The Fair Housing Council of Orange County is a private nonprofit organization formed in 1965 in the wake of the civil rights movement that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agency incorporated in 1968, the same year that Congress extended the civil rights protections to cover housing with the adoption of the Fair Housing Act. Under the direction of a 14-member volunteer board of directors and with a paid staff of 12, the agency works to fulfill a mission of reducing and eventually eliminating housing discrimination in Orange County. Contracting with all of Orange County's local governments to provide fair housing services for their residents, the agency provides comprehensive community education, individual counseling, mediation, low-cost advocacy and handles more than 1,000 issues concerning housing discrimination in the county each year. The Fair Housing Council also recently expanded its services to include comprehensive educational programs for housing providers, property managers, lenders, real estate professionals, and consumers. For more information, call 800/698-FAIR or 714/569-0823.