Racial Justice and Housing Justice
In case you missed it, we hosted the second session in ourRacialJustice&… Serieslast 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 RacialJustice& Health Equity at 5:30.**
Ronald Flannery, Raise-OpHousingCooperative
Ronald spoke about the need to invest in community control and ownership ofhousingdecisions, explaining that, until we do, we will continue to see misalignment between what our cities offer forhousingsolutions and what we actually need. Without this representation,housinginjustice sometimes appears to be invisible from the outside, particularly the structural violence and racism that plays out in thehousingsystem.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 ahousingsystem that prioritizes people over buildings.
What you can do:
- Donate to organizations like Raise-OpHousingCooperative.Raise-Op’s current fundraising driveis 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 forJustice
Dee spoke about the work that Homeless Voices forJusticehas been doing for over 20 years: organizing community members who are or who have formerly experiencedhousinginsecurity to advocate for a more equitablehousingsystem. Dee gave a powerful presentation of how difficult it is for low income and extremely low income folks to access stablehousing, 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 likeHomeless Voices forJustice.
- Stay informed about the ways in which gentrification impacts your own neighborhood, and advocate againsthousingdevelopments 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 decenthousingavailable 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 termhousing!
What you can do:
- Donate to organizations likeFour Directions Development Cooperation.
- If the currenthousingsystem is not meeting the needs of the people in your community, explore options to take charge and invest in newhousingsystems with the help of resources such as Community Development Financial Institutions.
Tonight, our panel discussion is onRacialJustice& Health Equityand 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 RacialJustice&… sessions to sign up for!