This weekend, the New York Times published an in-depth article titled the Rent Revolution is Coming.
A few excerpted paragraphs to give you a sense of what it offers:
“Such is the state of housing in America, where rising costs are flaring into pockets of resistance and rage. Take two-plus years of pandemic-fueled eviction anxiety and spiking home prices, add a growing inflation problem that is being increasingly driven by rising rents, and throw in a long-run affordable housing shortage that cities seem powerless to solve. Add it up and the 44 million U.S. households who rent a home or apartment have many reasons to be unhappy.
America’s housing problem was simmering long before the pandemic, and tenant organizing is a well-established trade. What’s changed is the depth of the housing shortage and the suddenness with which Covid-19 and inflation have tipped smaller cities into an affordability crisis. This has opened the aperture for policies once deemed politically impossible, in a wider range of markets.
“People take for granted that rent is always going to go up,” said Tara Raghuveer, a co-founder of KC Tenants. “There’s so little political imagination about what could be different, and now I think that’s changing.”
Embedded in tenant organizing are deeper questions about the structure of our political economy,” said Jamila Michener, a professor of government and public policy at Cornell who has studied tenant organizations. “It’s getting people to think about not just how you can leverage power against your landlord or get the city council to help you, but also questions like: Why does the economy seem to be rigged against people like you so systematically?”
As a result of KC Tenants’ organizing, the Kansas City City Council adopted the right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. Change happened, and is continuing to happen, in Kansas City and everywhere, including right here in Massachusetts.
You can read all about it here.