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'One paycheck away' from homelessness: housing inequality fuels U.S. protests

Reuters - WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Activist Winsome Pendergrass has an explanation for why the coronavirus is disproportionately affecting African Americans and fuelling the anger that has exploded onto U.S. streets - housing.

“The ones who feel it most are the black and brown people. That’s why COVID runs so prevalent in our area - you have eight people in a one-bedroom apartment,” said Pendergrass, a leader with the activist group New York Communities for Change.

“COVID has blown the lid off to show that we’re all living one paycheck away from the side of the street,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Pendergrass is among a number of activists and residents warning that the protests over race and policing that have roiled the United States for more than a week are driven in part by housing inequalities exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

There are cracks in the foundation of our housing system

 

Marketplace - Vanessa Bulnes and her husband Richard were homeowners in Oakland for nearly 20 years until they lost their home to foreclosure after the Great Recession and were forced to move into a rental. Now they put about 70% of their take-home pay toward rent each month — money that’s no longer building equity in a home. 

When COVID-19 hit, putting millions of Americans out of work, the rent was no longer affordable for Bulnes and many like her — even on unemployment benefits. So she went on a rent strike.

“If nothing is done that’s a permanent solution, like rent forgiveness or cancelation, I can’t even describe what the world is going to look like,” Bulnes said. “It’s a scary thought.”

Organizers of 2020’s May Day Actions Are Planning a People’s Strike for June 1

 

Truthout - Permutations of disaster are bearing down with such velocity on working-class people in the United States, it’s not easy to keep abreast — of the harms, but also of the welcome initiatives.

Jump-started by Cooperation Jackson co-founder and co-director Kali Akuno, a People’s Strike was announced on April 1 to inspire working-class people to think deeply about their futures and come to a shared commitment that concessions from power must be demanded, are worth struggling for and that steps must be taken to prepare materially for that struggle.

From now until further notice, on the first day of every month, the People’s Strike will birth a program of coordinated actions from coast to coast.

Davis extending eviction moratorium, Steinberg supports idea for Sacramento

FOX 40 - When the pandemic began, millions across the state were suddenly unsure of how they would pay their rents and mortgages.

“Right now, we’re having folks having to choose between paying for food and paying for rent,” said César Aguirre with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Sacramento.

That’s why community groups like ACCE fought for moratoriums on evictions in cities across the state.

Protest outside Sheriff Gore’s San Diego home urges no evictions

 

San Diego Union-Tribune - About 30 anti-eviction protesters gathered Tuesday evening in San Diego’s Mission Hills neighborhood, near where San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore lives, and traced outlines of dead bodies with blue, pink, yellow and white chalk.

“Evictions equal death,” they wrote in chalk and on hand-painted signs.

On May 7, the Sheriff’s Department announced plans to resume roughly 160 evictions that were ordered before the coronavirus pandemic. Later that day, sheriff’s officials reversed the decision, saying they would hold off on the evictions even though they were “perfectly legal.”

When eviction protections are lifted, how will people afford to pay accumulated rent?

 

San Francisco Chronicle - On May 6, Lorenzo Perez got a notice on the door of the Walnut Creek apartment he shares with his wife, Lesly Ordonez, and their two children. It said they had three days to pay rent or quit.

In other words, the landlord was threatening to evict the family.

Protesters gather outside Irvine Co. office, seek rent cancellations

 

LA Times - Protesters took to the lawn outside of the Irvine Co. office building in Newport Beach on Friday to express their concerns about economic struggles they face regarding affordable housing.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a loss of wages for many people not deemed to be part of the essential workforce.

A group called the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment organized a caravan of about 15 cars that made several trips around the building, honking horns and displaying signs that focused on two messages in particular “Cancel Rent” and “Make Them Pay.”

Will California Guarantee Housing as a Right? Here's How the Pandemic Is Shaping the Debate

 

KQED - California’s housing crisis is driving state lawmakers to think big. One question they’re considering: How can the Golden State guarantee housing as a right? This week, state legislators looked at two different approaches that tackle the legal right to housing and how the coronavirus pandemic is shaping the debate.

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