More About the Working Group on Housing Justice and Community Transformation

News from Members and
the Field

Contact Us
Program Archives

Housing Justice News


February 20, 2014: In Minneapolis: Ellison, Hodges, Majority of Council Members join call to halt unjust evictions

75 community members, bolstered by support from Rep. Keith Ellison, a majority of the City Council, and a statement from Mayor Betsy Hodges, rallied today for Jaymie Kelly, a 30-year homeowner who is facing imminent eviction, demanding that Freddie Mac’s new director change policies to negotiate with homeowners, and that the city not use public resources for unjust evictions. "Jaymie's lived in her home 30 years. Her adult daughter grew up in that house doing her homework on the kitchen table. And now she could be evicted any day,” said Congressman Keith Ellison. “This is wrong. It's time Freddie Mac knew that the days of kicking hardworking decent Americans out of their homes are over.” Read full article here.

January 11, 2104: Eminent Domain: A Long Shot Against Blight. The New York Times, article by Shaila Dewan.

You can’t fight city hall, the saying goes. But Gayle McLaughlin, the mayor of Richmond, Calif., a city of 100,000 souls, would tell you that fighting Wall Street is harder. Even for city hall. Ms. McLaughlin has a plan to help the many Richmond residents who owe more money on their houses than their houses are worth, but it’s one that banks like Wells Fargo, large asset managers like Pimco and BlackRock, real estate interests and even Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants, have tried to quash. Her idea involves a novel use of the power of eminent domain to bail out homeowners by buying up and then forgiving mortgage debt. Read the full article here.

January 2014: Housing Demolition and the Right to Place. The Polis Blog, article by Tony Roshan Samara 

There is no small irony in the fact that the most notable achievement of affordable housing policy in the United States over the past two decades has been the systematic demolition of affordable housing stock. To understand this upside-down world of housing politics, at least as it collides with the lives of the urban poor, we have to understand the moral panic that has developed around the concept of concentrated poverty. Over time, this panic has hardened into a consensus among the urban policy elite. For its members, most if not all social ills associated with cities and poverty stem from too many poor people being gathered in one place. Read the full article here

December 25, 2013: A Step Toward Affordable Housing. The New York Times, editorial board

Representative Melvin Watt, a Democrat of North Carolina, who was confirmed earlier this month as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, will need to use all of his agency’s powers to cope with a worsening affordable housing crisis that is placing poor and elderly Americans at risk of homelessness and forcing many of the nation’s 43 million renters to skimp on food and medical care to meet the rent. Read the full article here.

December 5, 2013: Newark Advances Eminent Domain Plan to Slow Foreclosures. Read the full article here. Bloomberg News, article by Terrence Dopp

December 5, 2013: ACLU sues housing regulator over eminent domain blockade. Read the full article here. The Hill, article by Peter Schroeder

November 16, 2013: New Jersey town vows to rescue foreclosed homeowners. Read the full article here. Aljazeera, article by E. Tammy Kim

November 15, 2013: More Cities Consider Using Eminent Domain to Halt Foreclosures. Read the full article hereThe New York Times, article by Shaila Dewin

September 10, 2013: Housing Groups File in Support of Richmond and Eminent Domain. Mortgage News Daily, article by Jann Swanson. 

Several fair housing and civil rights groups have come to the side of the City of Richmond, California as it attempts to use its power of eminent domain to buy and modify underwater mortgages on some local homes.  The coalition has filed an amicus brief in federal court today supporting the City's opposition to a motion filed to block its proposed purchases. Read full article here.

July 9, 2013: Right to the City and the National Low Income Housing Coalition File Unprecedented Law Suit Against Federal Housing Finance Agency

On Tuesday July 9th, Right to the City and the National Low Income Housing Coalition filed a national lawsuit against Acting Director Ed DeMarco of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for violating the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). HERA requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to contribute a portion of their revenue to the National Housing Trust Fund, a fund created explicitly to support low-income affordable rental housing. Despite the banks' reporting $28 Billion in record setting profits in 2012, FHFA, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has failed to contribute into the National Housing Trust Fund and shirked their responsibility to millions of families in need of affordable and fair housing. Read more here.

June 6, 2013: Ground-Breaking Fair Housing Agreement for Marketing and Maintenance of Foreclosed Properties

On June 6, 2013, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 13 of its member organizations announced a collaboration with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. that will provide funds in 19 cities to foster homeownership, assist with rebuilding neighborhoods of color impacted by the foreclosure crisis, and promote diverse, inclusive communities. Read the full press release here.

June 5, 2013: Victory in Chicago, IL! New Protections Offered to Renters Living in Foreclosed Buildings.

After two years of organizing renters living in foreclosed apartment buildings, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, in coalition with 12 other community, labor, and policy organizations passed the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance on June 5, 2013. The new law that passed with a 45-4 vote out of Chicago's city council requires banks that take over rental buildings following foreclosure to either act as landlords and let rent-paying tenants stay in their homes, or pay a relocation fee of $10,600 to the families they displace. This makes Chicago the second largest city in the U.S. to implement this type of protection for renters living in foreclosed buildings. Read more from APNC here.