Recently, I was listening to a webinar, Remaking the Economy: Housing Justice Webinar in Partnership with Shelterforce. In this particular 90-minute roundtable discussion, moderator Steve Dubb of Nonprofit Quarterly, invited three very accomplished and powerful housing advocates to share their thoughts and insights on the opportunity to advance a more robust systems change for housing.

Maya Neal of KC Tenants, Coya Crespin of Community Alliance of Tenants and Miriam Axel of Shelterforce shared their collective approaches and successes to this important work. They challenged the status quo by encouraging engagement on a more equitable housing system that does not commodify housing, but instead recognizes housing as an important link to wellbeing, health and economic stability.

Some key take-aways include:

  • Housing is healthcare. How can one shelter-in-place when they have no shelter? The pandemic is a perfect moment to recognize that stabilized housing is essential for our health and the health of the community.
  • Stakes are not the same for a tenant and a landlord, where the ultimate risk for a tenant is homelessness.
  • A more just and equitable housing system requires significant commitment on all sides. Housing stability legislation is in everyone’s self interest and needs to have universal application.
  • Community owned housing can be bolstered by a National Community Trust, Land Bank Standards, Tenant Rights to Purchase laws and permanent affordable housing.

Today, we must make the connection between housing and the role it plays in health, wellbeing, climate action and the economy. When housing is available, we can start to build a life that is productive and contributes to our communities. When housing is not available, our communities end up paying with often expensive and cascading crisis situations.

Want to be a part of the solution in our community? Attend the next meeting of the Mountain Housing Council and get involved with one of the working groups. Consider a donation to the Housing Solutions Fund!

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