Earlier this week, with the imperialist media caught in a flurry over the sinking of a South Korean warship allegedly by a North Korean submarine, a reactionary stab at the working class is making its way in the halls of Congress. The Preservation, Enhancement and Transformation Act (PERTA), a bill sponsored by HUD, would allocate $350 million to building a project-based voucher system that could raise rents to over $1,000 a month, according to Community Housing activists. This callous move by the U.S. government cements a long tradition of swiping benefits from working people while simultaneously pretending they are doing it in our favor. According to a report produced by Right to the City Alliance on public housing in eight cities around the country, including New York City, New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Francisco:
Between 1995-2008, roughly 200,000 public housing units were demolished.
From 2002 to 2008, public housing lost nearly $3 billion nationally in operating subsidies.
Federal disinvestment leaves many units to go into disrepair.
Emma Harris, a San Francisco public housing resident said that “over 250,000 people are on the waitlists for public housing in the cities we studied. Our participants waited an average of six years to get into public housing. I was on a waitlist for 10 years. Congress must take immediate action to address this crisis by maintaining and expanding public housing.”
Rep. Nydia Velázquez [D-NY] introduced the Together We Care Act last year, which would create construction jobs for public housing residents and repeal Reaganite laws that prohibit the construction of more public housing units. The bill would also “establish a pilot program to train public housing residents as home health aides and in home-based health services to enable such residents to provide covered home-based health services to residents of public housing and residents of federally-assisted rental housing, who are elderly and disabled, and for other purposes.”
The American Party of Labor’s housing provision in our platform supports this bill and states the following:
1. We support the right of all people to have quality and affordable housing.
2. We support low-rent for all homes not exceeding three days worth of pay per month.
3. We support future state funded construction of public apartment complexes as a means to support the growing population and to house those without homes.
4. We support state-funded broad renovation and remodeling projects for old homes and neighborhoods.
5. We believe it is a human right for people to live in neighborhoods that are safe, supportive and free of crime. Therefore we support the creation of fully funded Neighborhood Safety Committees with members coming exclusively from the neighborhood.
“Millions of people are paying over half of their income for housing,” said Alexa Kasdan, Director of Research and Policy at the Urban Justice Center. “There is a desperate need for low-income housing that is not being met by the private housing market.”
The American Party of Labor is providing the links and contact information for the Right of the City Alliance so that our members and readers in public housing may get involved in defending their rights from corrupt and callous imperialist politicians who put war and murder above jobs and housing!
Marisa Franco, National Lead Organizer
Carl Lipscombe, National Coordinator
Claire Tran, National Organizer- Civic Engagement
David Dodge, New York City Coordinator
Shannon Barber, New York City Campaign Organizer
Right to the City Alliance
81 Willoughby St. #701
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Write to your representative to tell them to support the Together We Care Act: