New York’s Eviction Moratorium Ends Today

New York’s pandemic eviction moratorium expires today; it began in March 2020 when then-governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a temporary ban on eviction proceedings in response to eviction protests and calls for action to protect tenants. Hundreds of thousands of households across the state owe back rent and now face eviction. Forty-one percent of these households include children, and 72 percent of the affected renters are people of color. According to the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, there have been 81,530 eviction filings in New York City alone since March 2020. Many are now set to proceed amidst a new Covid surge and sub-freezing temperatures.

After Cuomo’s executive order, the Covid-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act was enacted in December 2020, putting a temporary stay on eviction proceedings if tenants filed a form demonstrating they had suffered pandemic-related financial hardship.

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Mutual Aid Groups Try To Keep Unhoused Neighbors Alive In The Snow

While the City of Seattle swept her home at Ballard Commons, an unhoused woman cried out to the city workers, mutual aid groups, and other community members packing up the park.

“Why don’t they come up with a solution that actually makes sense?” she said of the city. “Put people indoors. Do they think we want to be out here in the middle of winter? No! We’re not crazy.”

That was three weeks ago. It was 40 degrees that day.

Monday, Dec. 27, the city shivered under a high of 23 degrees, the coldest day in 31 years. The risk associated with hypothermia in the cold weather was greater than the risk of contracting COVID-19, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. That afternoon, Dr. Stephen Morris, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UW Medicine, told the Seattle Times that Harborview Medical Center saw one cold weather-related death, two “critically ill” patients, and approximately six people admitted for hypothermia.

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A Dream Of A Fossil Fuel-Free Neighborhood Meets Constraints

Dar-Lon Chang moved to this Denver suburb to start a new life.

In Houston, he’d spent 16 years as an engineer at ExxonMobil, the nation’s largest fossil fuel producer. In Colorado, he planned to pursue a career in renewable energy, but the real draw was his new house.

Oriented towards the sun, with solar panels on the roof and high-performing insulation, it was capable of generating as much carbon-free energy as it consumed. What little heating and cooling it required came from an efficient, all-electric heat pump.

Through these parallel tracks—the domestic and the professional—he and his family would become part of the climate solution, he hoped, rather than participating in its destruction.

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The Radical Legacy Of New York’s Winter Rent Strike

From 26 December 1907 to 9 January 1908, 10,000 tenants, predominantly Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe living in New York City’s Lower East Side, took part in a historic rent strike. During an economic depression causing mass unemployment and grinding poverty, landlords tried to hike rents by thirty-three percent. With their cry to ‘fight the landlord as they had the Czar’, the tenants won a partial victory, with rents significantly reduced for 2,000 households.

The movement established a tradition of militant working-class housing campaigns that eventually contributed to winning vital rent controls that still protect millions of the city’s tenants today. But as the Covid crisis continues, New York City renters are again organising against rapacious landlordism.

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Are Nonbank Mortgage Lenders Good For Minority Borrowers?

A loan officer at a mortgage company questions a Black loan applicant about household debts, but subsequently invites a less creditworthy white borrower to fill out an application with “no inquiry about credit standing or debts.” He then offers to walk the same white homebuyer through the loan application and preapproval process and follows up with personal emails. The Black borrower receives neither offers of extra help nor emails from the lender.

This unequal treatment played out in Seattle, Washington, and was part of a study in which testers with white and Black-sounding names and similar credit and asset profiles called a random sample of mortgage companies, including Movement Mortgage, seeking loans, according to a complaint filed in October by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based fair housing organization

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Berliners Win Vote To Expropriate Housing From Corporate Landlords

On 26 September, Berliners voted to expropriate housing from corporate landlords. This referendum became possible after years of struggle to make housing in the city affordable and available to all again. To understand the issue and the movement that led to this vote, Peoples Dispatch spoke to Anisia Petcu, an activist in the expropriation campaign. She works primarily in the working group Right to the City for All, which focuses on facilitating and amplifying the voices of people without German citizenship within the referendum campaign.

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Most American Homeowners Are ‘House Poor’

In a recent survey, 40% of homeowners with mortgages said they work second, full-time jobs to afford housing expenses. A majority of the 1,002 people surveyed by Consumer Affairs feel like they can’t afford their housing expenses, and did not anticipate the extra costs of upkeep when they bought their homes.

The report comes amid record surges in US home prices, also finding that more than a third of respondents are incurring extra credit card debt to pay their bills. Despite these challenges, homeowners ultimately prefer owning a home to renting one.

The survey found that although 40% of people rely on second, full-time jobs to ease the costs of homeownership, nearly 100% of “house poor” homeowners have taken on side gigs to offset home costs.

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How The US Government Segregated America

For many years, I worked in Boston public housing with teams of residents, community organizations, public housing staff and other professors on reducing and removing the many asthma triggers that caused the highest rates of asthma and asthma attacks in the city.  Living and working in the heart of the city neighborhoods, I was keenly aware of the apartheid nature of public and residential housing (black Roxbury, white South Boston, white gentrification overtaking Boston’s mixed-income interracial neighborhoods, and white suburbs)

I had been familiar with the mid-20th century pattern of “white flight” from urban neighborhoods to suburbs, abetted by venal realtors scaring white residents to sell low while selling high to black homebuyers, and “redlining”–realtors and banks refusing to show or offer mortgages to qualified African American homebuyers in white neighborhoods. 

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Court Ruling Threatens Eviction Of Landless Workers Movement Camp

Valinhos, Brazil – The camp was created on April 14, 2018 and named after Rio de Janeiro socialist city councilwoman Marielle Franco who was murdered a month before. Since then, the residents have transformed the abandoned land into a thriving community that provides housing for the residents, a school, a community kitchen, and produces agroecological products and handicrafts. They now face eviction after a court ruling that clearly favors real estate speculation and generating profit for its investors over the social and legal right to housing and agrarian reform.

On 23 November, the São Paulo Court of Justice authorized the eviction of 450 families living in the Landless Rural Workers Movement’s (MST) Marielle Vive camp in Valinhos.

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A New Campaign Fights To Stop The Criminalization Of Poverty

Anew campaign, Housing Not Handcuffs, is attempting to stop the criminalization of homelessness and poverty in the United States. Led by the National Homelessness Law Center, the effort builds on research the Law Center has been conducting since 2006. The Law Center’s latest report, issued in late November, tracks laws in all fifty states—plus Washington, D.C.—that make it a criminal offense to sleep, lie down, ask for money, loiter, erect a tent, put down a bedroll, “loaf,” or feed unhoused people in public.

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Protests Demanding Affordable Housing Surge In The Netherlands

On Sunday, November 28, housing rights groups and other progressive sections in the Dutch city of Groningen marched under the banner #Woonstrijd to protest the acute housing crisis in the city. Various groups including Shelter Our Students (SOS), International Socialists Groningen, New Communist Party of the Netherlands (NCPN),  Communist Youth Movement (CJB), RED Groningen, Young Socialists Groningen, Democratic Academy Groningen, Groningen Feminist Network, and others, participated in the march while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. The protesters demanded a radical housing policy from the authorities which will be beneficial for all residents of the city.

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Community Owned Real Estate

In this episode, I speak with executive director Noni Session about how EB PREC is garnering support to shift real estate ownership from extractive developers into the hands of the BIPOC community in Oakland and the East Bay. She shares the difference between a permanent real estate co-op and land trust, ancestral remembrance of cooperative ownership, how they got the first group of people to invest, their governance structure and multi-stakeholder model, prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility to individual investors, transparency of investment risks and how they mitigate it, and their exciting new venture – a historic Black arts venue they’ve acquired for Black artists and small businesses at 50% of market rate.

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Howard University Students Denounce Deplorable Living Conditions

As the student occupation of Howard University’s Blackburn Center has entered its fifth week, protesters have garnered significant support for their demands that administration at the historically black university immediately address deplorable living conditions.

In early October, students occupied the Blackburn Center to protest vermin infestations, mold, asbestos and other conditions overseen by the for-profit building management company Corvias. Students have camped outside the building in tents demanding that Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick convene a school-wide town hall meeting to discuss student and alumni representation on the Howard board of trustees, improved living conditions and freedom from legal and academic repercussions for student protesters.

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Kansas City Tenants Union: Organizing At The Speed Of Trust

Our tenant union network currently supports three tenant unions in the city. So that’s Gabriel Towers Tenant Union, McGee-Shiffman, Tenant Union, and the KC Homeless Union with plans to support the creation of many more unions. I’m sure that a lot of listeners of this podcast already know about the power that unions can wield. Lastly, our peoples Housing Trust Fund is a vision/ policy proposal that would make housing in KC truly and permanently affordable by divesting from our oppressors, namely gentrifiers and the police, and investing in our communities by funding social housing, rehabilitation to make homes more sustainable and accessible, protecting tenants rights, and more.

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Howard University President Addresses Housing Issues

Amid a nearly month-long student protest, Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick attempted to correct course during a semiannual state-of-the-university address, acknowledging some of the issues that have sparked an ongoing occupation of a campus building.

“The current events that are taking place on campus are very important. I hear the concerns, I want to be absolutely clear about that,” Frederick said. “We apologize for anybody that was inconvenienced in any way, shape, or form.”

Originally slated to occur on Oct. 22, during Howard’s homecoming weekend, Frederick delayed the speech to Friday. With protests ongoing at the time — nearly 150 students were camped out near or inside the Blackburn Building — Frederick said it felt appropriate to postpone, so his remarks would not serve as a “counter-narrative” to students’ demands.

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