Category Archives: Housing

Poor People’s Campaign Plans June 29 Mass Assembly, March in DC

“This is a crisis moment for our democracy,” said one campaigner. “We need for our political leaders to become moral leaders and take seriously the needs and priorities of the millions of people struggling simply to survive.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Rev. William J. Barber II at the Democracy Awakening rally at U.S. Capitol in 2018. Photo: Becker1999/flickr/CC

Leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival on Monday announced plans for the Mass Poor People & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly & Moral March in Washington, D.C. on June 29, just over four months before the U.S. elections.

The aim of the assembly and march is to “mobilize the one-third of the U.S. electorate who are poor and low-wage infrequent voters” as well as to pressure political leaders to embrace a 17-point agenda during the 2024 election cycle and beyond.

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Liberal Justices Grill Attorney in Supreme Court Case on Criminalizing Homelessness

“Where are they supposed to sleep? Are they supposed to kill themselves not sleeping?” asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor of unhoused people who have been barred from sleeping outside in Grants Pass, Oregon.

By Julia Conley. Published 4-21-2024 by Common Dreams

Grants Pass homeless encampment. Screenshot: 5NEWS

As housing rights advocates and people who have been unhoused themselves rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to demand an end to the criminalization of homelessness, the court’s three liberal justices demanded to know how the city of Grants Pass, Oregon can penalize residents who take part in an act necessary for human survival—sleeping—just because they are forced to do so outside.

After an attorney representing Grants Pass, Thomas Evangelis, described sleeping in public as a form of “conduct,” Justice Elena Kagan disputed the claim and reminded Evangelis that he was presenting a legal argument in favor of policing “a biological necessity.”

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In ‘Massive Escalation’, Texas Sues to Shut Down Faith-Based Shelter for Helping Migrants

“If the work that Annunciation House conducts is illegal—so too is the work of our local hospitals, schools, and food banks,” said the nonprofit organization.

By Julia Conley. Published 2-21-2024 by Common Dreams

Annunciation House volunteers calling upon local and national leaders to welcome asylum-seekers with dignity. Photo: Annunciation House/Facebook

A faith-based migrant aid organization that’s operated in El Paso, Texas for nearly five decades said Wednesday that Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered it to turn over documents about its work earlier this month—but that a lawsuit filed by Paxton has now made clear that his true goal is to shut down the group’s network of shelters.

Annunciation House, which provides food and housing for refugees and undocumented immigrants, received an order from the Consumer Protection Division of Paxton’s office on February 7, demanding that it turn over documents including legal service referrals, identifying information about asylum-seekers and migrants the group helped, and applications for federal funding. The organization was given one day to turn over the documents, and Paxton provided no explanation for the demand.

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‘Unacceptable’: US Homelessness Hits Record High

“Without significant and sustained federal investments to make housing affordable for people with the lowest incomes, the affordable housing and homelessness crises in this country will only continue to worsen,” warned one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-15-2023 by Common Dreams

A homeless encampment in Minneapolis January 2023 Screenshot: KARE

The number of people in shelters, temporary housing, and unsheltered settings across the United States set a new record this year, “largely due to a sharp rise in the number of people who became homeless for the first time.”

That’s a key takeaway from an annual report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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Jeff Bezos Donates $120 Million to Fight Homelessness, Then Invests $500 Million to Make It Worse

“The last thing Americans need is a Bezos-backed investment company further consolidating single-family homes and putting homeownership out of reach for more and more people. Housing should be a right, not a speculative commodity.”

By Jon Queally. Published 12-3-2023 by Common Dreams

Jeff Bezos. Photo: Dan Farber/flickr/CC

Among the three richest people on the planet, mega-billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos received some praise last week for announcing approximately $120 million in donations to a number of groups fighting the scourge of homelessness in the United States.

“It’s a privilege to support these orgs in their inspiring mission to help families regain stability,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post touting the multiple grants to 38 individual nonprofits in 22 states.

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US home insurers are leaving climate risk areas. We need affordable housing now

When the US housing crisis meets the looming insurance crisis, only government intervention will avert catastrophe

By Chrissy Stroop. Published 9-27-2023 by openDemocracy

The Creek Fire burns vegetation near a road on Camp Pendleton, California, Dec., 24, 2020. Photo: Public Domain

Most Americans are aware that with housing costs on the rise, more and more of us are experiencing periods of homelessness. Based on the relative dearth of national coverage, I presume far fewer of us are aware that major insurance companies have begun pulling out of areas identified as being at heightened risk due to climate change, leaving homeowners in the lurch. I wrote about the impact on Florida in July, but it turns out the problem is much larger than a single state, with California also heavily affected.

Over the next few years, it seems likely these two problems – unaffordable housing and unaffordable insurance in at-risk areas – will spiral into a potentially catastrophic cycle. Not only will some Americans be forced to abandon their homes, but the housing in these areas at high risk of damage from storms or wildfires will likely stand empty (as long as homes continue to stand at all), all of which will further drive demand up in a housing market that already prices out far too many people.

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As Insurers Cut Coverage Due to Climate Disasters, Senators Probe Continued Backing of Fossil Fuels

“By underwriting and investing in new and expanded fossil fuel projects, U.S. insurers are helping Big Oil bring us closer to the worst runaway climate scenarios,” said Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 6-9-2023 by Common Dreams

Storm damage from Hurricane Ian. Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife/flickr/CC

As insurance giants limit coverage in hundreds of disaster-prone areas across the United States, a Senate panel on Friday launched an investigation into seven major carriers’ continued backing of planet-heating fossil fuel projects that are driving increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather.

Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent letters to the executives of seven companies—American Insurance Group (AIG), Berkshire Hathaway, Chubb, Liberty Mutual Group, Starr Wright USA, State Farm, and Travelers Insurance—demanding that each firm disclose how it underwrites, invests in, and profits from coal, oil, and gas.

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Chinese Immigrants Sue Florida Over DeSantis’s Discriminatory Law Banning Home Purchases

“All Asian Americans will feel the stigma and the chilling effect created by this Florida law, just like the discriminatory laws did to our ancestors more than a hundred years ago.”

By Julia Conley. Published 5-22-2023 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Accusing Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of enacting an unconstitutional law that would not have been out of place at the turn of the last century, a group of Chinese American immigrants on Monday filed a lawsuit against the state over S.B. 264, which restricts most Chinese citizens from purchasing homes in Florida.

The law is set to take effect on July 1, but the plaintiffs and the groups representing them—including the ACLU, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), the Chinese American Legal Defense Alliance (CALDA), and the ACLU of Florida—hope to block the measure in the courts.

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US Unemployment System ‘Wholly Unprepared’ as Fed Risks Throwing Millions Out of Work

“If another wave of job losses does indeed hit, the unemployment safety net isn’t ready to cushion the blow without significant improvements,” warns the co-author of a new study.

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-1-2022 by Common Dreams

People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

With the Federal Reserve poised to induce mass layoffs in its ongoing campaign to curb inflation, a study published Tuesday warns the notoriously fragmented U.S. unemployment system is nowhere near ready to handle another surge in jobless claims, potentially spelling disaster for the millions of people who could be thrown out of work next year.

Authored by Andrew Stettner and Laura Valle Gutierrez of The Century Foundation (TCF), the new analysis notes that “the share of jobless workers actually receiving UI benefits has shrunk dramatically” since federal benefit increases expired last year. According to TCF, just 26.8% of jobless workers were receiving state unemployment benefits in the 12 months that ended in August 2022, a sharp decline from the 76% rate through early 2021. Continue reading

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Company That Makes Rent-Setting Software for Apartments Accused of Collusion, Lawsuit Says

 

Texas-based RealPage worked with some of the nation’s largest landlords to create a cartel to raise rents, says a lawsuit filed just days after ProPublica published its investigation into the company.

by Heather Vogell for ProPublica,  Published 10-21-2022

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

Renters filed a lawsuit this week alleging that a company that makes price-setting software for apartments and nine of the nation’s biggest property managers formed a cartel to artificially inflate rents in violation of federal law.

The lawsuit was filed days after ProPublica published an investigation raising concerns that the software, sold by Texas-based RealPage, is potentially pushing rent prices above competitive levels, facilitating price fixing or both.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego. Continue reading

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