A housing crisis is gripping our country. This issue of the RESIST Newsletter takes a look at two aspects of the problem: the catastrophe in public housing and growing foreclosures affecting both homeowners and renters.
For more than two decades - under Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and now Bush - housing activists have had to settle for crumbs. For the most part, organizers have been fighting battles on the defensive, working to protect existing federal programs such as public housing, Section 8 vouchers, and homeless funding plans.
Imagine it is 1786. A group of Massachusetts farmers are meeting in the farmhouse of Daniel Shays, a former Continental Army officer. The group has come together to plan a rebellion. Their concerns center around the high costs of the Revolutionary war, costs that have been laid on the backs of small land owners. Farm prices are low and taxes are high; many of these poor farmers are faced with the loss of their land. Together they will lead a rebellion that will impact the formulation of the Constitution of the United States.
Government reports confirm that half of the working poor, elderly and disabled who lived in New Orleans before Katrina have not returned. Because of critical shortages in low cost housing, few now expect tens of thousands of poor and working people to ever be able to return home.
The displacement of tens of thousands of people is now expected to be permanent because there is both a current shortage of affordable housing and no plan to create affordable rental housing for tens of thousands of the displaced.