Members attend #RenterPower2016 Summit

Summit participants. Photo by Laura Harper

Homes for All is a national campaign  with international connections organized to face a commonly un-acknowledged international housing crises. In cities and rural places rents are rising and gentrification is putting serious pressure on working class and people of color. Founded in 2013, Homes for All (HFA) has 52 member organizations spread through 26 cities in 20 states. Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is one of the newest members.

We traveled this weekend to the #RenterPower2016 Summit in Chicago Illinois. As we write this from the Greyhound bus back to Louisville, we are happy to reflect on the demographically and ideologically diverse group of 160 participants. While most represented organizations in major cities, including NYC and L.A., there were also groups from very small cities like Lincoln, Nebraska. The purpose of the summit was to develop goals and strategies around proposals for HFA actions.

Homes for All is is driven by four core values (quoted from material distributed to participants):

  • Community and Housing are a human right, not a commodity to be exploited for profit

  • Land and housing should be collectively­-owned and controlled by communities

  • Land and housing should be developed in a way that is sustainable for the planet

  • Land and Housing should be accessible, permanent, quality, and connected to economic, social and cultural networks and institutions.

The organization’s goals are to create millions of affordable houses controlled by low-income people and communities of color, address gentrification and rising rents with transformative solutions, build a housing justice movement led by low-income and communities of color, and shift the popular consciousness around housing to foster interest in transformational strategies to address housing problems.

As development in central cities makes established low-rent areas desirable for wealthy people again for the first time in decades, the housing crisis intensifies across the nation. It is not hard to see this in happening in Kentucky, but we were disturbed by the pace of displacement in the large cities represented at the summit.

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