By Poverty Scholar Momii Palapaz
“April is the Fair Housing Act (55th) Anniversary,” Tanisha Gardner of Homes For All Newark, NJ explained. “In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act. This is an addition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We took this month to bring more awareness (to the neighborhood) and let residents know they do have power.” Tanisha is a longtime housing rights warrior working in her community with Homes For All Newark, New Jersey.
According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Vector News, out of 323, 284 low income residences, only 98,753 units are affordable. Newark is home to residents whose rent is half of their income. Essex County, which Newark is a part of, has the largest number of homeless in the State. 85.9% of those homeless live in the city of Newark. “There are so many cases (tenant evictions), they had to take it to other counties in the State," said Tanisha.
At last count in 2022, there were over 582,000 homeless in the U.S.A. From California to Seattle to New Jersey, Indigenous, poor Black, Brown, Asian and white are preparing for another assault with evictions, escalating rents and no affordable housing.
“How do we protect all of us?” Tanisha questioned in an interview with Poor News Network. “There are policies that set abuse in motion, like redlining.” The FHA (Federal Housing Administration) in 1935 dedicated the National Housing Act to insure only white people. Black families were refused government support in ownership. In Newark suburbs, and housing developments all around the USA, selling to African Americans would bring penalties from banks and the FHA.
“I always think of (my) ancestors. What did they do to be so powerful? Like Black Wall Street, (we have) to start educating ourselves, buying land.” Tanisha and Homes For All Newark are working with the Rutgers University Law School forming a project to help residents know their
“We’re talking about people in the street. Thousands are a paycheck away from being homeless. Get into homefulness. Lift up Camp Resolution in Sacramento,” shared tiny of Poor News Network. Up and down the Ohlone coast to the Saquamish and Duwamish northwest territories of Chief Si’ahl (Seattle), residents of encampments are organizing and creating their own solutions for homelessness. The communities are fed up with anti-poor, racist, hate filled treatment from city governments and corporate developers. 171,548 are homeless in California (LA Times, March 2023).
Since 2012, RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) has torn down poor people’s housing under a plan of housing that includes families with higher incomes. According to the Housing and Urban Development Department, RAD was formed “to preserve and improve public housing properties."
City of Oakland violently displaced hundreds of residents at the Wood Street encampment, 2023.
According to the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, VA (March 2017), what the RAD website doesn’t say is that in “most RAD projects, public housing authorities transfer both management and a large portion of ownership of formerly public housing to private companies, but continue to subsidize the property with direct and indirect federal assistance”
For example, Langston Park 2014-management at newly built apartments, now called The Summit at Hopewell, refused families with children and disabled to return to the property. Those that did return were constantly harassed.
During the remodeling period, residents were forced to relocate to other virtually uninhabitable apartment units, some with mold and overall poorly maintained.
Homes For All, Newark is confronting a slew of laws that hammer away with private and federal stipulations. A combined sewage system that’s 150 years old will increase pressure and instability with proposed new high-rise housing.
Besides fighting to stay and live in their homes, Newark residents are experiencing environmental damages and trauma from deadly chemicals in their neighborhood. “The Vietnam War still affects us today. (From) my backyard, across the street is a (Passaic) river of Dioxin and Agent Orange that they are dredging to clean it. There is an incinerator for garbage from other parts of the State and PBSC, a power plant. Can you imagine how that smells?” A superfund for chemical cleanup was established 40 years ago and in 2022 plans were made to clean it up.
Turtle island, ancestral land, indigenous territories, First Nations, Lenape, Duwamish, Saquamish, Ohlone, Black, Brown, Asian and poor whites crossing false borders to build, redirect, join in solidarity in land Back, Return Black land movements for poor people led solutions to homelessness