Tag: housing is a human right
More than 200 people died while living on the streets of San Francisco in 2017. I recently received an invitation from the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness to attend the annual homeless persons memorial on the evening of Dec. 21. Throughout the evening, readings and songs by community and religious leaders were followed by the most powerful part of the memorial, the reading of the names of those who have died. As the death toll mounted to over 200, my anger grew.
Since the mid 1970s, Democrat and Republican politicians in Washington have prioritized the interests of the real estate industry over the need for affordable low and middle income housing for Americans. The Nixon administration placed a moratorium on new approvals for the construction of all federally subsidized housing. The Reagan administration slashed the budget of the Department of HUD. Presidents and members of Congress since then have not restored it.
At 4 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, moving in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic and other services – declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic services. The group, which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives and individuals from the community, said the move-in demonstrates their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.
The housing bust and faulty government policies have immersed the United States in a full blown economic and housing crisis. The cruel irony of this crisis, and what makes it so profoundly immoral, is that the commodity at its root – housing – is not at all in scarcity.