By Chloe Riley for Equal Voice for Families. CHICAGO – In Roxanne Smith’s kitchen, a framed excerpt from Barack Obama’s 2008 Grant Park presidential victory speech hangs for all to see. “America, we have come so far,” it reads. “But there is so much more to do.” Smith, 60, has come a long way herself in recent years. In 2013, she faced potential homelessness after the Northwest Side apartment where she lives with her 35-year-old son was foreclosed upon. At the time, the downstairs neighbors in her two-flat apartment complex had accepted a payout and left the building. But Smith, whose son Roget lives with a developmental disability, couldn’t afford to leave. Sitting in the dining room of her two-bedroom apartment, Smith holds tight to a green plastic bag, which was left on her door over a year and a half ago.
By Arno Agman for Popular Resistance. Baltimore, MD – No, it’s not a line from a B-series Italian mafia movie from the 80s. It’s straight from the entrails of the city of Baltimore. Most people living along the North East corridor don’t really ponder on the necessity of water…until it suddenly stops flowing. Then everything changes. Today started well with an early short trip to the gym. At home, we refilled all 8 five-gallon water bottles at the store in the morning, poured water in the four buckets spread around the house for periodic necessities and various cleaning tasks, installed a cut-out, slow dripped, refillable 3 gallon container above the kitchen sink for our dishes, and finally hung our 5 gallon portable camping shower bag in the bathroom. We were then ready to attack the daily events everyone takes for granted. Drinking, cleaning dishes, going to the bathroom… Showering had now entered the line of a luxury items.
By Michelle Chen for The Nation – The Great Recession has technically started to recede, but the banks that sparked it have mostly been allowed to walk. Some even prospered in the aftermath. But a jury just hit back against one predatory lender, restoring a little of the confidence in the system that Wall Street stripped away from Brooklyn during the financial crisis.
By Katherine Martinko for Treehugger. Residents of public housing units in South Pittsburg, TN are angry. The executive director of the South Pittsburg Housing Authority, Lisa Bradford, recently announced that residents can no longer have gardens in their yards, despite the fact that the residents pay for plants themselves and some have tended their beautiful gardens for many years. Last week the new Resolution 937 took effect: “The South Pittsburg Housing Authority, beginning on June 1, 2016 will impose a new Landscaping Policy for all residents of the South Pittsburg Housing Authority. The new landscaping policy states that ALL landscaping, including gardening, is to be removed from the housing authority property, unless it is planted by the South Pittsburg Housing Authority staff.
By Biz Carson for Business Insider – San Francisco may be known for its fog, but the city wants to turn the sunny days it does get into power for its buildings. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that would require new construction that is shorter than 10 floors to install solar panels or solar water heaters on top of both new residential and commercial buildings.
By Catherine Rentz for The Baltimore Sun – A coalition of activists has claimed a vacant red brick rowhouse at the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest, though the city has marked the home for demolition and says it’s not the activists’ to use. The self-described squatters say they want to use what they call the “Tubman House” — named after the underground railroad organizer Harriet Tubman — as a hub to organize food gardens and giveaways, host community cookouts and orchestrate art and occupational training courses, mainly for residents in and around neighboring Gilmor Homes.
By Julie Dermansky for Desmog – Walter Unglaub never thought flooding would threaten the carriage house he rents in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. It is on a bluff 30 feet above the Bogue Falaya River, in an area that is not considered a flood zone. But that didn’t stop a flash flood from forcing Unglaub to swim for his life to get to higher ground awaiting rescue last Friday. “No one is safe from extreme weather,” Unglaub told DeSmog on Sunday when he returned to sort through his belongings to see what, if anything, was salvageable.
By Shane Burley for ROAR Magazine – As we get further away from the shocking chain of foreclosures that marked the 2008 financial crisis, it has become more apparent just how deep the catastrophe hit. The crisis led to 2.9 million foreclosures that year — a level of housing displacement comparable to an active war zone. For those without the means to even own a home, the crisis never had a clear beginning or end. In major cities across America, rents are responding to the influx of massive internet start-ups, “creative-class” corporations and financial institutions that are bringing in large incomes in small numbers.
By Staff of FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS – The unrest began as labourers – under heavy police protection – moved in to start pulling down the makeshift shelters in the shantytown. Two bulldozers stood by but were not used. The demolition of the southern half of the camp began after a court petition by charities to stop it was rejected last week. Migrants and members of the British “No Borders” activist group, who launched projectiles at the police, set fire to about 20 of the shelters, according to an AFP photographer and running clashes continued late into the afternoon.
By Julia Carrie Wong for The Guardian – Residents have been ordered to vacate the San Francisco homeless encampment under a highway overpass after police and public workers pressured the city’s homeless to relocate there from areas of the city slated for Super Bowl 50 festivities. The 21st-century Hooverville became a symbol of the city’s gaping inequality in the run-up to and throughout the week of star-studded Super Bowl festivities in February, rekindling long-running controversies over how the city should address the needs of its nearly 7,000 homeless residents.
By Shane Burley for ROAR Magazine – For those without the means to even own a home, the crisis never had a clear beginning or end. In major cities across America, rents are responding to the influx of massive internet start-ups, “creative-class” corporations and financial institutions that are bringing in large incomes in small numbers. A recent study showed that around half of renters pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent — the recommended percentage by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development — and a quarter spends 50 percent or more.
By The Free Org for The Free – Spread the word friends. The warehouse will soon be full of words; the garden has begun regrowing community; music and paint about to burst across the city. At the lower end of Grangegorman and where the block continues along North Brunswick Street, acres of warehouses and yards and houses and space space spaces have been laying vacant far too long, once again. Fromdevelopers to NAMA to developers to judge’s friendsand back to developers for more and more money while people and places rot.
By Steve Rushton for Occupy – Housing prices in London have risen by 50% in the last five years. If the U.K. property bubble goes boom, it will be proportionally bigger than the U.S. housing bust at the onset of the financial crisis in 2007. How did we get here? For starters, U.K. banks in 2015 lent over £1 trillion ($1.4 trillion) for housing, accounting for 70% of newly made loans. The result is that when this bubble pops, it could catalyze another global financial meltdown. While there are many other possible triggers, the next financial crash is more likely than not.
By Ramah Kudaimi for End The Occupation – Did you hear all the buzz around Airbnb, the online accommodation service, listing homes in illegal Israeli settlements for people to rent? There are 13,000 Airbnb listings in Israel, though investigations have revealed that many of the properties are actually located in settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. By allowing users to list and rent these properties and taking 9-15% from hosts and guests, Airbnb is making money off of Israel’s continued military occupation of Palestinian land and helping facilitate settlement activity.
By Amanda Froelich for True Activist – There are many problems on this planet in need of remedy, two of which are plastic pollution and extreme poverty. Every year, enough plastic is thrown away to circle the globe four times. Much of this makes its way into the oceans (an estimated 10-20 tons) from landfills and continues to swirl in garbage patches, leaking toxins into the oceans and killing off wildlife that consumes it unsuspectingly. In addition, roughly 1.2 billion people now live in extreme poverty worldwide or subsist on less than $1.25 per day.