Are You Unable To Afford Decent Housing? Welcome To The Club

‘By the time I was seven, I had already moved four times.’ Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

By Ijeoma Oluo for The Guardian – The affordable housing crisis is becoming inescapable. We have now reached the point where a minimum-wage worker can only afford to live in about a dozen counties in the entire nation. Even those with college degrees and wages above minimum wage struggle. This problem doesn’t just impact countless poor Americans any more. Now it hits middle class families, too. For many, it’s outrageous that this crisis is no longer is confined to the bottom of the income ladder. ‘What do you mean that someone earning $20 an hour in LA wouldn’t be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment?’ gasp those in the middle class. When it was in the news that you’d have to earn $24 an hour in order to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle, where I live, I finally saw community members talking more seriously about housing density and rent controls. But for those of us who have been locked into a housing crisis for generations because of race, gender, class or disability, we are left wondering why so many are just now paying attention to an issue that has already destroyed countless lives.

Cuomoville Three Day Camp-Out Begins At Cuomo NYC Office

Cuomoville camp out for housing justice

By Staff for Metropolitan Council on Housing. We are camping out in front of Governor Cuomo’s office to demand that he stop siding with real estate developers and start standing with New Yorkers! For too long Governor Cuomo has been selling out tenants. He’s given a $2.4 billion tax break to developers so they can pretend to build affordable housing while in reality they kick out low and middle-income New Yorkers, who are predominantly people of color. Governor Cuomo’s housing agenda isn’t helping tenants, it’s hurting us… and we’ve had ENOUGH. Its time to press the Governor to stand with us. If you can join us for any part of the three day camp-out and actions listed above, contact, or RSVP on Facebook

Co-Ops Lead By Putting Communities In Charge Of New Housing Projects

Mehrs als Wohnen won a World Habitat Award last year

By Anca Voinea for Coop News – Co-operatives, community land trusts and other housing models are coming together to help communities design their own homes and neighbourhoods. The new concept – known as a platform for social production of habitat (SPH) – means locals are involved in projects, so they meet their own specifications rather than those set by the private market. Based in Switzerland, the project began when a group of community-led housing practitioners met to discuss the formation of a global network to increase visibility of the model and support local efforts through peer exchange, workshops, solidarity finance and campaigns, and a regional awards program linked to the World Habitat Award. The partners are the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), Co-operative Housing International, Grounded Solutions Network, Habitat International Coalition, Slum Dwellers International, and UrbaMonde. UrbanMonde co-ordinates activities bringing together the six housing groups from different regions around the world. They focus on helping them to share practices and experiences.

Trump’s Plan To Gut HUD Threatens Very Survival Of America’s Poor

Mike Dennis

By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – Rosemary Holmes has lived in Newark’s Terrell Holmes for the better part of six decades. She, like many others in the building, has raised children in its courtyards and hallways, and forged a tight-knit community of friends and neighbors. At the age of 68, she has been forced to band with other tenants to fight local efforts to shutter the facility. Now, as the Trump administration weighs plans to gut the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she has a new battle on her hands. “Any time they move a person to someplace they don’t want to live, it’s imprisonment,” she told AlterNet over the phone. “I am a human being, and I deserve to live where I want to live. Us, the ones who really want to be here…

Chicago Renters Back ‘ROOTS’ As Solution To Affordable Housing


By Chloe Riley for Equal Voice for Families. CHICAGO – In Roxanne Smith’s kitchen, a framed excerpt from Barack Obama’s 2008 Grant Park presidential victory speech hangs for all to see. “America, we have come so far,” it reads. “But there is so much more to do.” Smith, 60, has come a long way herself in recent years. In 2013, she faced potential homelessness after the Northwest Side apartment where she lives with her 35-year-old son was foreclosed upon. At the time, the downstairs neighbors in her two-flat apartment complex had accepted a payout and left the building. But Smith, whose son Roget lives with a developmental disability, couldn’t afford to leave. Sitting in the dining room of her two-bedroom apartment, Smith holds tight to a green plastic bag, which was left on her door over a year and a half ago.

Water Shut Off – A Story Of Control And Profit


By Arno Agman for Popular Resistance. Baltimore, MD – No, it’s not a line from a B-series Italian mafia movie from the 80s. It’s straight from the entrails of the city of Baltimore. Most people living along the North East corridor don’t really ponder on the necessity of water…until it suddenly stops flowing. Then everything changes. Today started well with an early short trip to the gym. At home, we refilled all 8 five-gallon water bottles at the store in the morning, poured water in the four buckets spread around the house for periodic necessities and various cleaning tasks, installed a cut-out, slow dripped, refillable 3 gallon container above the kitchen sink for our dishes, and finally hung our 5 gallon portable camping shower bag in the bathroom. We were then ready to attack the daily events everyone takes for granted. Drinking, cleaning dishes, going to the bathroom… Showering had now entered the line of a luxury items.

How Banks Stole Homes From Most Vulnerable New Yorkers

A foreclosed home up for auction is seen in the Queens borough of New York. (Reuters / Shannon Stapleton)

By Michelle Chen for The Nation – The Great Recession has technically started to recede, but the banks that sparked it have mostly been allowed to walk. Some even prospered in the aftermath. But a jury just hit back against one predatory lender, restoring a little of the confidence in the system that Wall Street stripped away from Brooklyn during the financial crisis.

Public Housing Residents Told To Tear Up Their Gardens

Flowers in pots

By Katherine Martinko for Treehugger. Residents of public housing units in South Pittsburg, TN are angry. The executive director of the South Pittsburg Housing Authority, Lisa Bradford, recently announced that residents can no longer have gardens in their yards, despite the fact that the residents pay for plants themselves and some have tended their beautiful gardens for many years. Last week the new Resolution 937 took effect: “The South Pittsburg Housing Authority, beginning on June 1, 2016 will impose a new Landscaping Policy for all residents of the South Pittsburg Housing Authority. The new landscaping policy states that ALL landscaping, including gardening, is to be removed from the housing authority property, unless it is planted by the South Pittsburg Housing Authority staff.

San Francisco Becomes First Big US City Requiring Solar Panels On New Buildings

Solar system installer Thomas Bywater adjusts new solar panels on the roof of a house in Sydney, August 19, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

By Biz Carson for Business Insider – San Francisco may be known for its fog, but the city wants to turn the sunny days it does get into power for its buildings. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that would require new construction that is shorter than 10 floors to install solar panels or solar water heaters on top of both new residential and commercial buildings.

Activist 'Squatters' Take Over Home Near Gray's Arrest A Year Later

Local activists have taken over an abandoned home across the street from where Freddie Gray was arrested. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

By Catherine Rentz for The Baltimore Sun – A coalition of activists has claimed a vacant red brick rowhouse at the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest, though the city has marked the home for demolition and says it’s not the activists’ to use. The self-described squatters say they want to use what they call the “Tubman House” — named after the underground railroad organizer Harriet Tubman — as a hub to organize food gardens and giveaways, host community cookouts and orchestrate art and occupational training courses, mainly for residents in and around neighboring Gilmor Homes.

Protests, Lease Sales Coming To Louisiana After Flooding

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.27.58 AM

By Julie Dermansky for Desmog – Walter Unglaub never thought flooding would threaten the carriage house he rents in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. It is on a bluff 30 feet above the Bogue Falaya River, in an area that is not considered a flood zone. But that didn’t stop a flash flood from forcing Unglaub to swim for his life to get to higher ground awaiting rescue last Friday. “No one is safe from extreme weather,” Unglaub told DeSmog on Sunday when he returned to sort through his belongings to see what, if anything, was salvageable.

Solidarity Networks As The Future Of Housing Justice

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 1.08.59 PM

By Shane Burley for ROAR Magazine – As we get further away from the shocking chain of foreclosures that marked the 2008 financial crisis, it has become more apparent just how deep the catastrophe hit. The crisis led to 2.9 million foreclosures that year — a level of housing displacement comparable to an active war zone. For those without the means to even own a home, the crisis never had a clear beginning or end. In major cities across America, rents are responding to the influx of massive internet start-ups, “creative-class” corporations and financial institutions that are bringing in large incomes in small numbers.

Clashes As Authorities Dismantle Calais ‘Jungle’

A poster at the sprawling camps known as the "Calais Jungle", where migrants live while attempting to enter the UK. (Photo: Ferdinande van Tets)

By Staff of FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS – The unrest began as labourers – under heavy police protection – moved in to start pulling down the makeshift shelters in the shantytown. Two bulldozers stood by but were not used. The demolition of the southern half of the camp began after a court petition by charities to stop it was rejected last week. Migrants and members of the British “No Borders” activist group, who launched projectiles at the police, set fire to about 20 of the shelters, according to an AFP photographer and running clashes continued late into the afternoon.

Homeless Forced Out Of Camp They Were Moved To Before Super Bowl

‘If it was my front yard, I wouldn’t want to see this either. But you can’t keep running your problem from this side of town to another side of town. You have to just deal with it where it is,’ said a part-time bartender who is homeless. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

By Julia Carrie Wong for The Guardian – Residents have been ordered to vacate the San Francisco homeless encampment under a highway overpass after police and public workers pressured the city’s homeless to relocate there from areas of the city slated for Super Bowl 50 festivities. The 21st-century Hooverville became a symbol of the city’s gaping inequality in the run-up to and throughout the week of star-studded Super Bowl festivities in February, rekindling long-running controversies over how the city should address the needs of its nearly 7,000 homeless residents.

Solidarity Networks As The Future Of Housing Justice

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 10.37.14 AM

By Shane Burley for ROAR Magazine – For those without the means to even own a home, the crisis never had a clear beginning or end. In major cities across America, rents are responding to the influx of massive internet start-ups, “creative-class” corporations and financial institutions that are bringing in large incomes in small numbers. A recent study showed that around half of renters pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent — the recommended percentage by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development — and a quarter spends 50 percent or more.