Housing Justice Pittsburgh
Building community power to fight displacement and promote our "Right to the City."
Together with housing justice advocates around the region, we're working to bring together housing policy advocacy and some ideas and themes emerging from housing justice work over two housing summits (2016 and 2018) and Racial Justice Summit panels (2017, 2019) in Pittsburgh. We are working to push policy makers to prioritize human rights in housing policy and to stop the displacement of low-income residents.
WE NEED YOU To Save Pittsburgh Homes!
- Volunteers needed for task forces on Renters bill of rights; Teach-in on housing justice; Democratizing policy process; and Housing Rights Monitoring. Please contact us at pghrights [at] riseup [dot] net.
*Saturday June 29, 2019 from 10:15AM-12:00PM (Carnegie Library/ East Liberty Branch, Room 1)
Housing Justice Goals & Strategies
- Build Collective Power: Build and support tenants’ union organizing being led by the Landless People’s Alliance; build our connections to national and global movements (such as Homes for All and the National Human Rights Cities Alliance).
- Support the Affirmatively Forwarding Fair Housing Task Force Recommendations: Support the follow-up to the AFFH Task Force. Now that the task force work is concluded, it is up to us to make sure our politicians follow through on the Affordable Housing Task Force Recommendations.
- Promote a city/county/state tenant bill of rights. See Washington DC as Model). Our discussions led to a proposed change in how we frame this to make it a “housing bill of rights”—this would broaden the base to include rights for homeowners (many of whom are essentially renting their homes from a bank) and recognizing the legitimate rights of landlords.
- Shift Discourses: Housing is a human right, and homes and communities are not commodities! We need politicians and the public to see housing as a human right. Our homes should not be treated as real estate, and our communities should not be treated as commodities:
- Democratize Policy Process to ensure Community Participation and Consultation: Reform existing practices to ensure robust and transparent social impact assessments and meaningful community participation in planning and development. Residents must be consulted at the start of new development proposals.
- We need to oppose the recent decision to limit participation in development and planning processes to Registered Community Organizations
- Build Community Resources: Promote and develop community land trusts and housing cooperatives to establish collective control over access to housing. Expand connections with national and global networks of housing and human rights defenders. See, e.g.: Homes for All
Past Meeting Notes
Links & Resources
- Housing is a human right: World Leader Calls out Governments, Banks, and Corporations for Housing Rights Violations:
- U.N. to U.S. Government: Do Better on Housing-In blistering letter, U.N. special rapporteur slams the U.S. government and international companies for violating human rights through the excessive financialization of the housing market. Shelterforce, By Jackie Smith & Emily Cummins, June 3, 2019.
We have a new opportunity to push our public officials to stop policies that displace residents as they work to “revitalize” our city’s economy. In late March, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, held a press conference in Copenhagen to speak about letters released to governments and corporations around the world (including the United States) and the Blackstone Investment Group L.P. Ms. Farha spoke out directly against policies and laws which support housing as a commodity. In the letters to various governments, Ms. Farha stated that these policies and laws contradict governments’ international human rights obligations. In particular:
- "1.The Government of the United States of America has provided financial support primarily through tax breaks and benefits to encourage the institutional investment in housing as an asset class and yet has failed to take measures to ensure access to adequate housing for the most vulnerable populations."
- "2.The Government of the United States of America has failed to encourage sub-national governments to enact legislation that regulates rent increases, fines and penalties leading to rental prices that are not commensurate with average wage increases."
- "3.All of these acts and omissions are disproportionately affecting African American households, and other minority groups contrary to the United States of America’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)."
- Letters: UN Special Rapporteur Letter to US Government On Housing Policies as Human Rights Violations, Letter to Blackstone Investment Corporation, here is Blackstone's response. Campaign links #MaketheShift #HousingisaHumanRight!
- Berlin Activists Demand Return of Properties to Public Control "Thousands of Berlin residents took to the streets on Saturday to vent anger over surging rents and demand the expropriation of more than 200,000 apartments sold off to big private landlords, which they blame for changing the character of the city. Activists have started collecting signatures for a ballot proposal that would require the city to take back properties from any landlord that owns more than 3,000 apartments. Polls suggest such a measure could pass, forcing the city to consider spending billions of euros buying privatised housing back." Read more
- Pittsburgh Housing Summit Page: Resources and program from our 2016 and 2018 Housing Summits
- Forged for All? Amazon HQ2 & the Future of PittsburghHuman Rights, the Right to the City, and Equity implications of the City of Pittsburgh's Future. Forged. For All Plan