Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  If you broadcast our audio commentaries please consider a recurring donation to Black Agenda Report.

Until Housing is a Right, Blacks Will Live Marginalized Lives

  • Sharebar
    Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    A new report says housing policies should be based on filling social needs rather than using housing as a wealth-building mechanism. “Housing should be treated as a right, and housing policies must be informed by the realities of race.”

     

    Until Housing is a Right, Blacks Will Live Marginalized Lives

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    The very notion that housing should be affordable to all – much less that housing is a right – has all but disappeared from major party political discourse.”

    This year’s Martin Luther King Day report from United for a Fair Economy critiques U.S. housing policy, which has always been geared towards individual family home ownership. In recent decades, as Wall Street consolidated its political and economic dominance, government policy has been to treat housing as an asset whose value is to be constantly boosted; that is, housing as a wealth-building mechanism. It is a policy that ultimately serves the financial capitalists – a class that produces nothing, but grows more and more wealthy by manipulating the value of assets ever upward. Artificially inflating the price of housing also creates value against which homeowners can borrow – which is great for the banks but creates artificial bubbles in the economy that finally burst with catastrophic consequences.

    In all of this mad, artificial wealth and bubble building, the very notion that housing should be affordable to all – much less that housing is a right – has all but disappeared from major party political discourse. United for a Fair Economy’s report, State of the Dream 2013: A Long Way From Home, puts housing policy at the center of what’s wrong with economic policy. Author Tim Sullivan says the steady “hemorrhaging of wealth in communities of color stems largely from treating housing policy as an asset-building policy.” Home ownership accounts for roughly half the total wealth of Black and Latino families, “but only 28 percent for white families,” who have other sources of wealth. The report urges that the government invest “in affordable housing and policies that reach people for whom homeownership is not the best or most viable option” – that is, renters, or forms of community-owned housing. Housing should be treated as a right, and housing policies must be informed by the realities of race.

    The very presence of Blacks devalues the surrounding land and structures, in terms of market price.”

    If anything, the report is understated. In a pervasively racist society like the United States, race becomes an overwhelming factor. Race has shaped the social geography of the United States – and, therefore, the geography of wealth – as in no other modern society. Just as Black life is devalued in the criminal justice system, so the very presence of Blacks devalues the surrounding land and structures, in terms of market price. Race – and by that, I mean white racism – distorts and deforms this country’s market system, lowering the value of assets based on their proximity to concentrations of Black people, and artificially boosting the value of land and buildings that are located at a distance from Black neighborhoods.

    Informal racial redlining remains probably the most powerful pricing mechanism in the American real estate market. One can cross an invisible line from a largely Black and brown city to a mostly white town, and the property values immediately soar upward, regardless of the quality of the actual houses. Urban development schemes pre-suppose the breaking up or clearing out of Black population concentrations before any economic revitalization is even attempted. Public housing has been marked for extinction, based, at root, on the assumption that concentrations of Black people are bad for business and for society. These facts of American life require that Blacks demand that affordable housing be provided as a right, not as something that trickles down. Otherwise, African Americans will remain marginalized people living on marginalized properties.

    For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

    Your browser doesn't support flash. Click the mic instead to download.

    Share this

    Howard Zinn was called names for saying Housing is a Right

    I am a renter and don't have other "wealth", but that's not what I came to say.  Howard Zinn often listed Housing as a Right in his short list of Rights of people.  He was called all kinds of names (variations on radical) for that.  Can I have seen housing as a right in a UN Declaration of Rights of People along with health care, safety, food, education when it was the annual brief noting of the Declaration (which Eleanor Roosevelt was involved in when she was rep to UN, if I remember right)?  Someone will correct me if I'm remembering wrong before I research it.

         And I did notice that you said, Glen Ford, affordable housing, specifically.  That brings two additional things to mind.   "Affordable housing" has been defined/redefined in an obscene way in NYC, so that subsidized housing, such as it has been perverted to, has income requirements and rents that I nor would most people who rent, call "affordable" housing now as opposed to when I moved into Mitchell-Lama rental housing in 1968.   And the other thing: NYC Mayor Bloomberg (ah, soon to be out of office, but he can do a lot of damage before he goes) and others of the wealthy class, especially real estate megacorporations are aggravated that the NYS Constitution says that people MUST BE GIVEN SHELTER.  Yes, they have tried to manipulate the system in ways to milk the public treasury with emergency shelter (the ways real estate bigs can collect $3000.mo plus for emergency rent for a homeless family instead of renting at "affordable" rent and the shelter system -the horror that it is, costs as much per resident per year as a really good apartment but vacant apartments in short supply for a low vacancy rate as real estate bigs warehouse the vacant apartments) BUT the city still has to provide emergency shelter.  Bloomberg tried to have people in shelters pay rent.  Didn't fly in court.  Tried to house families in a vacated jail in the Bronx as a shelter after the jail was closed for lead contamination.  That didn't fly in court.  Every once in awhile some state legislators try to float the idea of a NYS constitutional convention, in hopes of destroying that concept of a right to shelter.   Nellie Hester Bailey is an authority on housing and tenants organizing; one of my few heroes.

    Apartments

    This is a wonderful article which will be very useful to me as well. I will come to you to know the handy discussion which will be very useful to me as well. Now i am very useful; to you to know the discussion as well. Thanks a lot mate.
    Apartments

    Housing

    Housing should be affordable especially to those who cannot afford much.. I should say that there would be equal treatment between the white and the black on how they live in this world. We are not talking about the race here. It is about housing. More importantly, it is very important that people have a place to live in and that is all that matters.

    ------------------

    structural steel

     

    Housing rigt concerning is

    Housing rigt concerning is very delightful one informatrion to me. You've talking is here some knowledgeable issue about the housing right whcih makes me knowledgeable.

    <a href=” http://www.azsearchforhomes.com/scottsdale/dc-ranch-real-estate">DC Ranch homes for sale</a>

    Housing right concerning is

    Housing right concerning is very delightful one informatrion to me. You've talking is here some knowledgeable issue about the housing right whcih makes me knowledgeable.DC Ranch homes for sale

    This can be a great content

    This can be a great content that is very beneficial in my opinion at the same time. I will come to you to definitely recognize the actual practical discussion that is very beneficial in my opinion at the same time. Currently my business is very beneficial; to you personally to learn the actual discussion at the same time. Cheers lots partner.

    <a href=" http://bangkok-realestate.net/building/keyne/">keyne bangkok for rent </a>

    Informal racial

    Informal racial redlining remains probably the most powerful pricing mechanism in the American real estate market.

    <a href="http://www.avsupply.com">cctv wholesalers</a>

    Clicky Web Analytics