Resolution 11:18:06 To Establish an ad hoc Housing Justice Committee

Authors: Shelly Ronen, Sam Schwartz, Jesse Kudler, Sus Sunhee Volz and Myles Guevremont

Co-sponsors: Dave Backer, Jeremy Low, Jason Oscar, Alex Braden and Heather Squire

Whereas, many cities in the US are facing a historic housing crisis. More than 11 million families spend more than half of their income on rent, and municipal governments are cutting back subsidies and relaxing rent controls.

Whereas, Philadelphia is heavily affected by the housing crisis, being the poorest big city (of largest ten cities) in the US, with 26% of city residents living in poverty. Philadelphia’s unemployment rate continues to be higher than the national average, lower only than Detroit and Baltimore. Meanwhile rents have risen for the fourth year in a row, and the median renter’s income is only $31,000.

Whereas, Philadelphia’s average housing costs are too high for minimum wage of $7.25, public supports, or earned benefits. For example, a person would have to work 106 hours/week at minimum wage to afford a modest one bedroom apartment.

Whereas, Philadelphia’s housing costs are unaffordable, since more than half (53.4%) of Philadelphia renters are cost-burdened, meaning they pay over 30% of their income on housing, and 31% are severely cost-burdened, meaning they pay over 50% of their rent on housing. Further, there are only 41 affordable units for every 100 extremely low income households.

Whereas, the City is only going to change how it mediates the class conflict between landlords and tenants, and chooses to house its citizens, if there is a sustained rebellion from below which is able to disrupt business as usual for the City’s ruling classes.

Whereas, organizing the working poor and those facing housing insecurity and unaffordability would fulfill all three of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union’s criteria for campaign
development by (1) objectively improving the living conditions of working people experiencing housing injustice (2) educating working people about their own power to affect their housing and (3) altering the broader relations of landlord-tenant power. 5

Whereas, the Housing Interest Group of LILAC has been meeting regularly since January 2018 and has been developing analysis of the city-wide housing landscape. Members of the Housing Interest Group have led the Local’s involvement in housing campaigns such as Good Cause (Resolution 2:18:11).

Therefore be it resolved, that Philly DSA form an ad-hoc Housing Campaign Coordinating Committee composed of the authors of this resolution with the following tasks and responsibilities: organize and coordinate the housing-related campaigns undertaken by Philly DSA; research and issue recommendations to the local on housing-related campaigns to be undertaken; organize and coordinate these further housing-related campaigns that the local chooses to undertake; build on ongoing organizing and research to explore longer-term strategic goals around housing security, fighting landlords and slumlords, and decommodifying housing.

Be it further resolved, that therefore the current housing-related campaign of the local, “Support Good Cause Legislation,” shall be organized and coordinated by this committee.

Be it further resolved, that the Housing Justice Committee will be formed in accordance with Article VIII, Section 1 of the Philadelphia DSA By-Laws; that in keeping with Article VIII, Section II of the Local’s bylaws, the authors of this resolution will keep the Steering Committee and the General Meetings of the Local informed on the activities of the committee in order to facilitate communication between SC leadership; and,

Be it further resolved, that the committee will have access to all chapter resources needed to carry out its tasks and responsibilities, including budgetary and communications (bulletins, phone-banking, mass-text, etc.) resources.

Be it finally resolved, That the committee will consist of the authors of this resolution. The committee shall have a term of 1 year, at which time it will issue a report and recommendations to the general membership on how to best proceed with housing campaigns in Philadelphia.

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