Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez team-up against housing injustice during COVID-19
Bowman and AOC are calling for rent protections through the end of 2020 as COVID-19 continues to devastate disenfranchised communities.
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New York, among other states, has no universal eviction moratorium or rent relief at a time when many families face eviction because of financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
New York State has the highest levels of income inequality in the U.S. and until this is addressed in its many forms, Black and Latinx families will continue to bear the brunt of a health crisis that has disproportionately affected low-income communities.
This is why Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) are teaming up to fight the exacerbated housing crisis in New York by fighting unjust evictions with the message that “Housing is a Human right”
“If our society is willing to callously allow people to their own devices – which is the same thing as just kicking people out to the street – then what we are essentially creating is another public health pandemic on top of the public health pandemic of COVID-19,” AOC began the virtual event on July 15.
“It precipitates and creates this self-fulfilling vicious cycle that we have the moral obligation to stop and that we already have the money to stop,” she continued.
The virtual event was set-up as a direct response to the countless Black and Latinx communities that have been left vulnerable to eviction as a result of the unexpected health crisis, and the increasing burden of rent debt.
The two are calling for a universal rent moratorium through the end of 2020, the cancellation of accumulating rent debt, and extra tenant protections for undocumented residents.
Bowman and AOC, have recently joined organizers from Housing Justice for All to present virtual eviction defense workshops on how to organize an eviction defense at a building or block.
“For decades New Yorkers have been experiencing the effects of a housing crisis that forced over 40,000 NYC households to pay over 50% of their monthly income to housing costs. This burden has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, all while real estate developers continued to fill their pockets,” said Bowman in a press release.
Bowman is the progressive candidate for New York’s 16th congressional district, expected to assume office in January 2021, after a successful run in defeating a 16-term incumbent.
Bowman has a stunning 25-point lead over incumbent Rep. Eliot L. Engel, who has filed a lawsuit that would allow him to challenge absentee ballots and refuses to concede.
Still, without an official win yet, Bowman continues to advocate for the disenfranchised in his district.
“I grew up in public housing and rent-controlled apartments, so to me, the fight to make housing a human right is personal,” said Bowman. “We can not allow these profit-driven developers to force families to decide between putting food on the table or a roof over their heads anymore.”
This election cycle in New York has served to further prove that AOC’s historic win was not a “fluke,” as critics continue to assert. Wins by Bowman, Ritchie Torres, and Mondaire Jones have issued an echoing boom in politics, amid the ongoing noise of the pandemic.
“I am running for Congress because we need a leader in Congress that will fight for national rent control, Just-Cause Eviction protections, a deep public investment in public and social housing, and a national homes guarantee that recognizes housing as a human right,” Bowman continued.
Voters have spoken and chosen these voices they think will elevate the importance of their struggles. Whether it be Black Lives matter, or housing injustice, these wins represent the call for change.