May is the month that commemorates working peoples’ fight for dignity and respect. It’s also a month dedicated to lifting up conversations about what truly just housing looks like within our communities.
Too often, conversations about “affordable housing” center development as the solution to our crisis. In fact, the very notion of “affordable” misses the point.
Housing is a human right. Dignified housing is a human right.
Landlords, out-of-town investors and property owners continue to extract profit from the roofs over our heads. The lasting impact of violent policies like racial covenants, redlining, price gouging and eviction loopholes creates a hostile environment for working people of color and reinforces structural inequality.
We argue that to depoliticize housing is to decontextualize the person. When you decontextualize the person you dehumanize them. And such acts perpetuate capitalist white supremacy.
We believe that the solution to thriving communities requires us to do three things: Preserve, defend and reclaim our existing housing stock from investors, build power to protect and expand our rights as tenants, and invest in community-controlled solutions that de-commodify new development.
The only solution that truly upholds our value of housing as a human right is community control. Even now, tenants across the country are seeking solutions to reclaim and fight back against the harmful legacies of commodified housing.
That is why we organize. That is why we fight.
Together, we must act courageously to push the narrative beyond “affordable,” and center on what is just.
A VICTORY FOR JUST CAUSE PROTECTIONS IN PETALUMA
Following our renter rally and after presenting dozens of public comments and letters from our coalition, Petaluma City Council unanimously voted 7-0 to make Just Cause an official priority for the year and address Ellis Act loopholes.
Tenants are teachers, nurses, farmworkers and healthcare providers. We contribute to healthy, happy neighborhoods. That victory showed us that when stand up together, we win.
We still have to ensure the City puts Just Cause on the agenda. While our fight continues, we know that by organizing and sharing our stories, we pushed the City Council to stand by its word. Watch some of our leaders at our art build leading up to the rally.