Day 12: Housing Justice

“Housing is a human right. There can be no fairness or justice in a society in which some live in homelessness, or in the shadow of that risk, while others cannot even imagine it.”

Jordan Flaherty

Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six

Housing justice meets the needs of the entire community. It means that residents of all genders, races, ethnicities, disabilities, ages and more have access to high quality, safe, affordable housing. However, according to the Center for American Progress, “for centuries, structural racism in the U.S. housing system has contributed to stark and persistent racial disparities in wealth and financial well-being, especially between Black and white households.” Housing segregation, redlining, predatory lending, urban renewal and racist zoning laws are policies that work to preserve and increase the power and wealth of predominately white communities at the expense of people of color. The results of these discriminatory housing practices are the main driver of the country’s housing affordability crisis. In many urban centers, this inequity can be compounded by the effects of gentrification — the process by which the character of a neighborhood is altered by a drastic influx of affluent residents and businesses, often resulting in the displacement of long-term, low-income residents. 

Justice in housing requires solutions that reimagine how many Americans think housing should work. Many communities are already advocating for implementing more equitable cooperative housing models like community land trusts, co-housing and permanent real estate cooperatives. Housing justice also requires a concerted effort to affect policy like rent control initiatives and caps on property tax increases. 


TODAY’S CHALLENGE

Read

Watch

Engage

Engage with a redlining map from the 1940s and look up the description of where you live (5 minutes).

Act

  • Learn more about organizations and their work toward a more just housing system for all (5 minutes): 

Reflect And Share

    1. Take a moment to consider your neighborhood, where you shop, where you work, where you or children in your life go to school, and the places you frequent. How integrated or segregated are they? How often are you in the majority/minority?
    2. How does the lack of affordable housing in the U.S. change your understanding of the “American Dream”?
    3. How is housing affordability affecting your vision for your own future – or the future of your community as you know it?
    4. What would you like to see happen in your community or the country to begin addressing housing affordability?

TALK TO YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLE.

Start the conversation. Send the tweet. Share your story. Make the Facebook post. Sharing what you learn and experience with your family, friends, and co-workers is the first step toward allyship.

Join thousands in conversation by using hastag #EquityChallenge or #TakeTheEC22