September 25, 2018

How unions once dealt with the housing crisis

In These Times - Dr. James Peter Warbasse opined in the journal Co-operation, “Once the people of New York City lived in their own houses, but those days have gone. ... The houses are owned by landlords who conduct them, not for the purpose of domiciling the people in health and comfort, but for the single purpose of making money out of tenants.” That was in 1919.

A century later, things have gone from bad to worse. A quarter of U.S. households pay more than half their income in rent. In New York City, homelessness has hit record levels.

Most activists can reel off a list of demands to address the housing crisis: rent control, community land trusts, affordable housing development. But one of the most effective strategies has been forgotten. A century ago, the labor movement in New York City planned and executed a bluntly practical solution to the problem of housing: Build it.

Today, more than 100,000 New Yorkers live in apartments built by the labor movement between 1926 and 1974, mostly through an organization called the United Housing Foundation. Roughly 40,000 still-affordable cooperative housing units.... stand as monuments to what an organized working class can achieve. This housing provides a bulwark against gentrification and a blueprint for ending the housing crisis. 

How unions did it

1 comment:

greg gerritt said...

In Rhode Island all the unions seem to want to build is luxury housing financed by the billionaires even when it would be the worst possible thing to foist on communiites.