You hear the story too many times. The Big Bank wants the single mom and her children out on the street to offer her home to a more profitable alternative. These banks don’t care that this mom has been in her home for over 20 years, raised her children there- and paid way more on her home than it was worth. There is no forgiveness or understanding when she loses her job and is looking for another one. All the Big Bank cares about is kicking her out and selling her home to an investor.

In the past, there were fires in the cities, people saw their apartment buildings, where they held and grew their life stories, burn down right before their eyes. In a few weeks, a new condo high rise would come to town along with businesses catering to newer residents. The neighborhoods changed and people were forced to move, if they didn’t become homeless. Now, people who bought their homes are thrown out if they cannot make their mortgage payments, renters are either the new hot deal on the housing market or dealing with rising rents and costs and buildings in disrepair. With no real plan to preserve and build public housing, the idea of housing as a human right is under threat of demolition. As vacancies amount in cities, homeless families look on, wondering why there are so many homes without people in them.

This is why the Right to the City Alliance and 22 member organizations are launching the Homes for All Campaign. We want to draw attention to the housing crisis facing urban and suburban extremely low and low-income people of color. We want a to have a holistic vision for affirming housing as a human right. Through this campaign, we are challenging the absurd assumptions that the housing crisis is over and that the market holds all (if any) of the solutions to our problems. We believe our government has a responsibility to create and strengthen laws and programs that will allow our communities to flourish.

The recent and ongoing financial crisis has revealed millions of residents of the United States experience housing insecurity, many of them for years at a time. Yet, housing policy in recent decades, whether implemented by government, the corporate sector, or some combination of the two, has contributed to a loss of affordable housing and has often displaced the members of our communities in the name of de-concentrating poverty. At the same time, corporations have shifted enormous amounts of investment into our cities, but their interest in property speculation and maximizing quarterly profits undermines our interest in long-term neighborhood stability.

And when the crisis hit, they got bailed out and we got left out.

With the latest wave of REO (Real Estate Owned) to rental properties being snatched up as the newest gambling scheme for hedge funds and private enterprise, we are on the cusp of what could become the creation of yet another housing bubble. Astronomical rents and displacement are already on the rise and this unbridled “game” threatens to further weaken an already fragile economy and devastate the hope for stable and sustainable communities now or in the future.

We want policies that allow us to strengthen the bonds we build with each other in our communities, and which help us to survive in the face of resource scarcity, economic hardship, environmental degradation, and political marginalization. To this end, we call for an end to speculation driven development in our cities that produces housing our communities can’t afford.

We assert our right to stay in the communities we have built and refuse to be displaced!