M. Adams, Take Back the Land, 414-430-1321
Heidi Weglietner, Affordable Housing Action Alliance, 608-333-3676
Coming on the heels of years of grassroots housing organizing and advocacy, one week ago the Madison Common Council voted to pass a Housing is a Human Right Resolution.
“Recognizing housing as a right for all Madisonians is a big step in the right direction for Madison and for the national housing movement.” Said Heidi Wegleitner of Affordable Housing Action Alliance, and one of the co-authors of the resolution. “The low rental vacancy rates and rent spikes, combined with our high child poverty rate, make a compelling case for swift and full implementation of the right.”
The resolution was written and initiated by Operation Welcome Home, Take Back the Land-Madison, Peoples Vision for Affordable Housing, Freedom Inc, and Affordable Housing Action Alliance. It was introduced by City Alder Shiva Bidar-Silaf and begins with the daunting statistics on housing injustice especially as it impacts certain populations of people such as formerly incarcerated, LGBTQ, Latin@, youth, disabled and African American communities. The statistics are followed by recommendations for the city to include in a comprehensive housing plan, and hire a staff person, to improve the housing situation especially for low-income renters, homeowners, and homeless people. Money for this staff person has already been included into the 2012 budget despite challenging economic times.
Madison becomes a leading city in the national struggle for the human right to housing by joining Washington D.C., Cook County, Illinois, Minneapolis, New York City and Los Angeles in their efforts to recognize housing as a human right.
In another effort to bring about housing rights, yesterday, December 6th, there were over 45 actions happening in 25 cities across the country in a national day of action called “Occupy our Homes” linking the Occupy movement with the foreclosure, housing and homelessness crisis. People were “going from the streets into homes” to stand up to banks, corporations and the 1% who are responsible for the economic crisis. This kind of non-violent direct action organizing combined with years of policy and legal advocacy, direct services, and community organizing has helped bring the recognition of housing as a human right to Madison; we hope it will spread to other locations.
M. Adams, an organizer with the local and national Take Back the Land Movement, said, “for us to have our human right to housing recognized not only do we need radical action, but also legislation that directly addresses and treats housing as a human right. The Housing is a Human Right resolution is a good local step in that direction.” M. is a co-author of the resolution and has also helped support the national day of action. M. added, “this resolution and the national day of action shows that people across the country are taking a proactive step at both a local and national level to have our human right to housing recognized.”