In case you missed it, we hosted the second session in our Racial Justice &… Series last week! Huge thanks to everyone that joined the call, and to Ronald, Dee, Susan, and Samaa for bringing us another powerful conversation!
You can watch the recorded discussion below, or read through to catch some of the highlights and action items from these inspiring panelists. **Don’t miss tonight’s panel on Racial Justice & Health Equity at 5:30.**
Ronald Flannery, Raise-Op Housing Cooperative
Ronald spoke about the need to invest in community control and ownership of housing decisions, explaining that, until we do, we will continue to see misalignment between what our cities offer for housing solutions and what we actually need. Without this representation, housing injustice sometimes appears to be invisible from the outside, particularly the structural violence and racism that plays out in the housing system. Symptoms of this might look like Black and Brown Mainers having to share their home with multiple folks, or facing unfair evictions at higher rates than white folks. Ultimately, Ronald called for a housing system that prioritizes people over buildings.
What you can do:
- Donate to organizations like Raise-Op Housing Cooperative. Raise-Op’s current fundraising drive is to support Maine’s first passive house* apartment building designed and owned by low-income residents. *Passive house design means it consumes very little energy to heat or cool, and it has excellent air quality.
Dee Clarke, Homeless Voices for Justice
Dee spoke about the work that Homeless Voices for Justice has been doing for over 20 years: organizing community members who are or who have formerly experienced housing insecurity to advocate for a more equitable housing system. Dee gave a powerful presentation of how difficult it is for low income and extremely low income folks to access stable housing, citing that “In no state, metropolitan area, or county in the U.S. can a worker earning the federal or prevailing state or local minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent by working a standard 40-hour work week.”
What you can do:
- Donate to organizations like Homeless Voices for Justice.
- Stay informed about the ways in which gentrification impacts your own neighborhood, and advocate against housing developments that displace poor and low income residents.
Susan Hammond, Four Directions Development Corporation
Susan shared the incredibly powerful ways that Four Directions Development Corporation has challenged conventional lending practices to make affordable, safe, and decent housing available to Maine’s Native community members. For example, they offer mortgages with lower interest rates, support for a down payment, and do not require mortgage insurance. These are just a few of the ways in which they provide access to capital for all Native people who want to live in their community on the reservation. In the 20 years since their founding, they’ve been able to provide 200 families long term housing!
What you can do:
- Donate to organizations like Four Directions Development Cooperation.
- If the current housing system is not meeting the needs of the people in your community, explore options to take charge and invest in new housing systems with the help of resources such as Community Development Financial Institutions.
Housing Justice Resource List
Upcoming Racial Justice &… Sessions
Tonight, our panel discussion is on Racial Justice & Health Equity and will feature speakers from the Southern Maine Workers’ Center, New Mainers Public Health Initiative, and Maine Access Immigrant Network.
We’ll be in touch in the new year with more Racial Justice &… sessions to sign up for!