The pandemic has created a terrible eviction crisis, which the federal government is trying to address with emergency rental assistance. But how do we reduce the precariousness of housing in the long run so that a public health crisis or other disaster doesn’t snowball into displacement? Many people are calling for more social housing as part of that solution. What does that mean? What will it take to make it happen?

This 90-minute in-depth webinar, jointly organized by NPQ and Shelterforce, brings together four leading voices in the field to discuss these issues:

Gianpaolo Baiocchi is a sociologist at New York University and a leading author of a proposal to develop a Social Housing Development Agency that can support housing co-ops and community land trusts and help ensure access to housing for all.

Bernie Mazyck is president and CEO of the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development, a coalition of over 70 community development groups.

Krystle Okafor is a J.D. candidate, Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar, and Moelis Urban Law and Public Affairs Fellow at the New York University School of Law. She is the co-author of “Under One Roof: An Abolitionist Approach to Housing Justice” with Sophie House.

Roberto de la Riva Rojas is co-director of Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (United Renters for Justice), a tenant housing justice group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This webinar explores:

  • What is the current US housing system? Why is it producing outcomes that are making housing affordability ever more tenuous for millions of people?
  • What does it mean to approach housing justice from an abolitionist perspective? What conditions would make achieving this housing justice vision possible?
  • Why is more money for affordable housing not enough? How would a social housing policy framework change how we think about housing?
  • What is the idea behind a Social Housing Development Agency? How would it effectively implement a public policy and vision of social housing?
  • In what ways would social housing boost currently community housing ownership strategies such as community land trusts and housing cooperatives?
  • What role does tenant organizing play in bringing about a new housing policy vision? What can we learn from tenant organizing of housing cooperatives?
  • What can nonprofits and philanthropy do to support housing justice and help make a vision of social housing a reality?

The moderators for this webinar were NPQ Economic Justice Program Director Steve Dubb and Shelterforce Editor in Chief Miriam Axel-Lute. Miriam has been an analyst of housing justice and community development issues for over 20 years. Steve has worked with cooperatives and nonprofits for over two decades and has been both a student and practitioner in the field of community economic development.

Additional Resources:

Gianpaolo Baiocchi and H. Jacob Carlson, “Housing as a Social Good,” Boston Review, June 2, 2021.

Gianpaolo Baiocchi and H. Jacob Carlson, with Marnie Brady, Ned Crowley, and Sara Duvisac, The Case for a Social Housing Development Authority, New York, NY: Urban Democracy Lab at New York University’s Gallatin School, November 2020.

Community Works, “Community Economic Development in SC (w/ Rep Chandra Dillard & Bernie Mazyck),” The Community Vault [podcast], February 24, 2021.

Matthew Desmond, “The Tenants Who Evicted Their Landlord,” New York Times, October 13, 2020.

Steve Dubb, Interview of Bernie Mazyck, Washington, DC: The Democracy Collaborative, June 2011.

Sophie House and Krystle Okafor, “Under One Roof: Building an Abolitionist Approach to Housing Justice,” NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, November 1, 2020.

Sophie House and Krystle Okafor, “Housing Policy Needs Abolition Too,” Shelterforce, January 14, 2021.

Clara Miller, “Trouble in Paradigm: Foundations’ Bargain with the Devil,” NPQ, June 30, 2021.

Shelterforce, Community Ownership [article series on community land trusts and cooperatives], July 2021.

Shirley Sherrod, “The Struggle for the Land: A Story from America’s Black Belt,” NPQ, February 18, 2020.