FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

We Need a Homes Guarantee…Now

I lost everything during the financial crisis. The government decided that the perpetrators of the crisis were “too big to fail” and bailed them out with our money.

I was not bailed out.

Today, a decade after the crisis, I’m part of a grassroots-led effort to ensure every person in the United States has safe, accessible, sustainable, and permanently affordable housing. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I’ve gone through.

After the crash, I had to change my whole life. I didn’t have a 401(k) retirement account to fall back on. I had to cancel travel plans. I had to find a place to live.

I moved into a building owned by a non-profit, but just six months later I learned that it was for sale to the highest for-profit bidder. My neighbors, 120 people aged 65 to 92, were traumatized by the threat of homelessness. I had visions of ending up on the street with my cat. Fortunately, we were able to organize and save our homes.

But now we struggle with our new landlord, the Chicago Housing Authority. In our city, seniors in public housing use ovens to stay warm in winter and ride on out-of-code elevators. Others are wait-listed for years before they can get an apartment.

My friend Stephanie died because of conditions in senior housing last year. She always used to say, “This is war, Linda. This is war.”

My story is not isolated or extreme, but rather very typical of America’s systemic housing emergency.

In 2019, a full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any county ⁠— urban, suburban, or rural ⁠— in the United States. Twenty-one million households, disproportionately people of color, spend over 30 percent of their income on housing. Only one in five households that qualify for federal housing assistance receive it.

America has betrayed public housing communities through decades of racist disinvestment and neglect. Too often, residents face a brutal choice between appalling conditions or rehousing promises that are insufficient — less affordable, far away — or simply never materialize. Millions live one medical bill, flat tire, or other life event away from homelessness.

My story, Stephanie’s story, the stories of my neighbors, and the scale of the national crisis are why I’m a proud leader with the campaign for a national Homes Guarantee. Over the past two years, we’ve determined that we, the people closest to the problems, had to envision our own solutions.

Our vision for a Homes Guarantee is simple: in the wealthiest country in world history, we can and we must guarantee that everyone has a home.

The Homes Guarantee calls for building 12 million social housing units and reinvestment in existing crumbling public housing. We also need stronger protections for renters, as well as tenants and former homeowners living in recently or about to be foreclosed homes.

Our vision would also address the need for reparations for centuries of racist housing policies, like redlining and other forms of discrimination. To help our country address the climate crisis, we also call for energy efficiency investments that would slash carbon emissions.

Fully realized, our proposal will guarantee homes for all. Rents will be set based on our needs and real costs to local government, rather than speculative market prices. Land will be stewarded by and on behalf of everyday people like me instead of developers and landlords out to make the biggest profit.

Our vision for a Homes Guarantee is radical. It is also necessary.

I can’t wait anymore — and neither can my neighbors.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 17, 2020
Sheldon Richman
Anti-BDS Laws Violate Our Freedom
John Horning
NEPA is Our National Defense System

Evelyn Leopold
How the UN’s Middle East Peace Plan Was Trounced by Its Own Members
Stephen Cooper
“Just Mercy” and Justice Don’t Exist in Alabama
Patrick Cockburn
Sinn Fein’s Victory is Ireland’s ‘Brexit Moment’ When Left-Out Voters Turn on the Elite
Ralph Nader
“Democratic Socialism” – Bring it on Corporate Socialists!
Phillip Doe
Every Day’s a Holiday for the Oil Business in Colorado
Binoy Kampmark
Fashion Fetishism, Surgical Masks and Coronavirus
Cesar Chelala
The Democrats’ New Chapter
Robert Koehler
The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters
Peter Cohen
Time to Retire the “He Can’t Beat Trump” Trope
Sr. Kathleen Erickson
Lessons From Ministering on the Border
Alvaro Huerta
Another Five Lessons for Democrats to Defeat Trump in 2020
Wim Laven
Donald Trump’s Plan for America: Make it Ignorant
Christopher Brauchli
You Tube’s Trump Predicament
Steve Klinger
Trump Shoots Romney at Prayer Breakfast; GOP Shrugs
Elliot Sperber
Ode to the City Bus 
James Haught
Megachurch Mess
Weekend Edition
February 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete
Bruce E. Levine
“Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Leader of the Pack
Jennifer Matsui
The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock
Paul Street
Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week
Jonathan Cook
Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party
Thomas Klikauer
Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report
Joseph Natoli
Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice
David Rosen
Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?
Louis Proyect
Marx, Lincoln and Project 1619
Robert Hunziker
Amazon Onslaught
Russell Mokhiber
NPR and the Escalating Attack on Single-Payer Health Care
Ramzy Baroud
Breaking with Washington: Arabs and Muslims Must Take a United Stance for Palestine
Mike Miller
Race and Class: Overcoming the Divides
Michael Brennan
Timeline: How the DNC Manipulated 2016 Presidential Race 
Jacob G. Hornberger
U. S. Lies and Deaths in Afghanistan
Rev. William Alberts
Trump Served Up Projection at the National Prayer Breakfast
Nick Pemberton
The Overwhelming Sex Appeal Of Bernie Sanders
David Swanson
Why This Election Is Different
Dan Bacher
Western States Petroleum Association Tops CA Lobbying Expenses with $8.8 Million Spent in 2019
Christopher Ketcham
The Medium Warps the Message Straight to Our Extinction
Erik Molvar
Trump’s Gutting of NEPA Will Cut the Public Out of Public Lands Decisions
William Kaufman
Tulsi Gabbard: A Political Postmortem
Colin Todhunter
Menace on the Menu in Post-EU Britain
Gregory Elich
Mnangagwa’s Neoliberal Assault on the Zimbabwean People
Ron Jacobs
The Lies of Industry and the Liars Who Sell Them
Binoy Kampmark
Subverting the Blacklist: Kirk Douglas’s Modest Contribution
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail