Coronavirus: Rent strikes, home occupation, and a fight for housing
The burgeoning housing-justice movement already had plenty of momentum to fight against what it sees as rampant inequality and unaffordability. Now, the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated everything, and activists across the country see this as a crucial moment to push the housing-justice platform. The nation is facing an unprecedented economic crisis, one that will make it hard for millions to pay rent, underscores risks to the homeless population, and highlights what they see as an unjust and unfair housing system based on speculation. The simple fact is, if you don’t have a house to stay home in, you can’t do your part to fight coronavirus.
“I think some people in Washington aren’t considering the impact this crisis will have on people on the ground,” says Peter Gowan, policy associate for the Democracy Collaborative, a progressive nonprofit. “There’s a lot of talk about bailing out big companies, and making sure people stay employed and on unemployment benefits. But so many people are going to fall through the cracks. It’s very possible these funds run out before the economy is fully recovered.”