I’m excited to announce that the Right to the City Alliance, with its Homes For All (HFA) campaign, has joined CarsonWatch as a core partner. Right to the City and HFA add energy and momentum to an effort that Public Advocates launched earlier this year with PolicyLink, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC).
A powerful alliance of 64 grassroots racial, economic and housing justice organizations across 38 cities and 24 states, Right to the City celebrated its tenth anniversary in June. Over the past decade, Right to the City has committed itself to transforming the role of land and housing to address systems of institutional racism, patriarchy and economic inequality. RTC member organizations are at the leading edge of organizing residents directly impacted by housing, racial and economic injustice and building the leadership of these communities. Through the Homes For All campaign, their members are leading “trans-local” fights for rent control, to promote development without displacement, to defend against displacement, and to win long terms community control over land and housing. Right to the City is committed building a land and housing justice movement that is deeply connected with other emerging movements to support the development of a truly intersectional national social justice movement.
This partnership couldn’t come at a more exciting — and urgent — moment for the national housing justice movement. In the face of a growing housing crisis across the country, and an array of threats from the federal level, the past four months have witnessed a resurgence of coordinated action in cities nationwide and in Washington, D.C. For instance:
- In April, Miami renters confronted HUD Secretary Ben Carson, while tenants in New York City rallied to demand #NoCuts.
- In June New York tenants confronted Secretary Carson on Wall Street, who had staged a photo opp to ring the stock exchange bell instead of meeting with tenants and vulnerable families.
- On July 6, tenants in 22 cities took coordinated action to call for full funding of people’s housing programs and an end to giveaways to Wall Street landlords.
- A week later, 1,000 renters came together in Washington, D.C., garnering coverage in The Washington Post, US News & World Report, AM New York, and other media outlets as they conducted a “die in” at HUD headquarters and demanded that Secretary Carson and other federal housing officials meet with low-income tenants.
- And at the end of July, the National Low Income Housing Coalition led “Our Homes, Our Voices” with a week of more than 60 local actions unfolding across the country.
The sheer diversity of groups leading these efforts is impressive: leadership came from local groups, like the Miami Workers Center, Community Voices Heard, and New York Communities for Change, as well as from national networks like the Center for Popular Democracy, People’s Action, MHAction, the Right to the City Alliance and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
This summer of action is a sign of what lies ahead for many of us committed to holding our national and local elected officials to a more just and humane set of housing investments and policies.
At this juncture, the Right to the City’s “trans-local” model seems more important than ever. We think the time is now to build a united housing justice movement. As CarsonWatch’s core grassroots partner, Right to the City will help us to reach more and more unorganized impacted residents, and to build bridges to others who are organizing, both nationally and locally. Together, we are building toward the day when — across organizations, cities, towns and networks — we are in powerful coalition, guided by shared vision, beliefs and values. The day when we coordinate — across our many alliances — shared actions, campaigns and policy fights that transform our housing system. The day when it is the new common sense that housing comes before profit and that homes are a guaranteed human right for all people.
As the momentum of the renter actions over the past four months continues to build, CarsonWatch looks forward to supporting the next wave of actions, including the Renter Week of Actions that Right to the City and Homes For All are coordinating September 18-24. This will be a week in which thousands of renters will take bold and powerful action across the country to stand up for our communities, defend our homes and fight for a world where all people have dignified and affordable homes.
Together, we can build the power impacted communities need to transform our cities and our country.