Fighting the Housing Crisis During Covid-19
The government neglect has caused Black and Brown people to mobilize
A combination of unemployment, lack of affordable housing, and pandemic mismanagement have exacerbated the housing crisis, causing Black women and other women of color to become increasingly houseless and housing-insecure. The situation is likely to worsen when CDC’s moratorium on evictions ends on January 31, when 30 to 40 million Americans could be facing eviction, but organizers of color are fighting back.
Whether it’s through demanding the cancellation of rent or reclaiming empty properties for the creation of affordable housing for working-class Black and Brown people, the housing movement is forcing a reckoning with the worsening housing crisis. This reckoning is necessarily about emphasizing the racial inequalities of renting, evictions, and gentrification.
The disparities and discrimination of the housing crisis already existed but have now become more obvious than before. According to the ACLU, renters of color are disproportionately burdened by evictions, with Black women in particular being the most affected. Before the pandemic, Black renters had evictions filed against them by landlords at nearly twice the rate of White renters. This year, a study measuring the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic revealed that 30% of Black women are behind on rent — twice the rate of White men and women. Closely behind Black women, 18% of Latinas are behind rent payments.
Audre Lorde Project organizer Kerbie Joseph, a Black woman who organizes in New York City, says the countrywide demand to cancel rent is a response to government neglect of the working class. “The Black and Brown working-class community are demanding and going to action to cancel the rent because we clearly saw that 54 million unemployment applications were sent in and the government barely responded to the needs of working-class people,” she told ZORA. “People are starving, people have lost their jobs, people have no money coming in, and so if I can’t provide how can I pay my rent? So there’s a movement of women because women make up most of the workforce within the United States and they lost their jobs, so it’s women answering to that call to fight for humanity: as humans we…