Tag Archives: affordable housing

Corporate Landlords’ Profits Soar as Tenants Drown in Rent Hikes and Fees

“Through-the-roof rent hikes based on greed—not need—have kept many Americans from getting ahead,” said one advocate at Accountable.US.

By Julia Conley. Published 6-12-2024 by Common Dreams

Yn 2002, the Roosevelt began operating as a luxury apartment building (Camden Roosevelt), owned by Camden Property Trust. Photo: NCinDC/flickr.CC

With monthly inflation down to its lowest point in more than two years and heading toward the Federal Reserve’s target, the Biden administration on Wednesday celebrated “welcome progress.”

But an analysis from Accountable.US showed how more than 100 million people who rent their homes in the U.S. are not seeing the benefits of what one Biden spokesperson called “the great American comeback” in their housing costs, particularly millions of people whose homes are owned by corporate landlords.

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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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Biden 2025 Budget Would Offer ‘Welcome Relief,’ But Not Enough

One expert said that enacting his reforms “will begin to reverse the 40-year one-way ratchet of falling taxes for the wealthy and corporations and instead invest in workers and families.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-11-2024 by Common Dreams

Photto: U.S. Secretary of Defense/flickr/CC

On the heels of delivering the latest State of the Union speech and signing a package of funding bills, U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his budget blueprint for fiscal year 2025, a proposal praised by congressional Democrats and progressive advocates who want him to go even further.

The $7.3 trillion budget comes as the divided Congress is still sorting out funding for the current fiscal year. Given those divisions—and that the Republican House majority is already advancing its own budget resolution for the fiscal year that begins in October—the Democratic president’s plan is widely seen as a statement of priorities going into the November election.

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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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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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‘Worst Yet to Come’ as Global Civil Unrest Index Hits All-Time High

“Over the coming months, governments across the world are about to get an answer to a burning question: Will protests sparked by socioeconomic pressure transform into broader and more disruptive anti-government action?”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Protesters at Plaza Baquedano, Santiago, Chile in 2019. Photo: Carlos Figueroa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The risk of civil unrest is rising in over 100 nations, with the “worst yet to come,” according to an analysis published Thursday by the U.K.-based consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.

Incorporating data going back to 2017, the latest update to the firm’s civil unrest index (CUI) shows that the last quarter of this year “saw more countries witness an increase in risks from civil unrest than at any time since the index was released,” the analysis states. “Out of 198 countries, 101 saw an increase in risk, compared with only 42 where the risk decreased.” Continue reading

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Despite Housing Crisis, Mississippi May Return Up to Millions in Federal Rent Aid to DC

“For them to suggest people like me aren’t working? It’s a slap in the face,” said one woman affected by the end of the pandemic assistance program. “It’s very insulting and degrading.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 8-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.
Photo: Tate Reeves/Facebook

Tate Reeves, Mississippi’s Republican governor, faced intense criticism Monday as the poorest U.S. state ended participation in a federal rent assistance program that helped shield tens of thousands of people facing eviction during the economic upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Invoking former U.S. President Ronald Reagan—whose administration eviscerated the social safety net and turbocharged economic inequality—Reeves tweeted that “today in Mississippi, we are ending RAMP, a federal program that incentivizes people not to work by using taxpayer dollars to pay for up to 15 months of free rent and utilities.” Continue reading

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