With both the federal and Illinois state eviction moratoria ending on October 3rd, we believe our government has failed to come to the relief of millions of renters and homeowners. The federal government’s response to the pandemic eviction crisis was insufficient and prioritized landlords and wealthy corporations over tenants and working class people with a $47 billion program designed to support the current broken model of housing through grossly inadequate funding and a failed distribution process.
Tenants in Chicago and around the country have struggled together throughout the pandemic, forming tenant unions and mutual aid groups to keep each other safe and housed. We look to their work, preventing evictions under lax enforcement of the moratoria by the state, against illegal lockouts by landlords, and all the work they and all organizers have done to keep people in their homes.
A different future was envisioned at the beginning of the pandemic through the demand to cancel rent, prioritizing the needs and rights of tenants over the profit of landlords and banks. Eighteen months later, we at Chicago DSA reiterate our support for the demand to cancel rent and stop evictions as a pathway towards fundamentally reshaping housing as a human right as opposed to being perverted into an avenue of capital accumulation.
For too long, we’ve endured policies meant to keep landlords and bankers whole at the expense of tenants. Governor Pritzker used the Illinois ban on rent control to deflect demands to cancel rent and created rent relief with numerous barriers to entry and protections for landlords, even deflecting some of the federal rental assistance funds to use for a windfall to suburban homeowners that had other vehicles by which they could negotiate with banks to stay in their homes. Our fight is not only to keep people in their homes, but to break the power of landlords and win housing as a human right, the right to stay in one’s home without rent and with full community support.
As democratic socialists, we demand Housing-for-All. We are fighting for a future where evictions have come to an end and mediation and social services are provided to solve and resolve problems instead. Through a more progressive tax base and wealth tax, we can cancel rent and fees for utilities forever, end homelessness forever, and provide housing as a true human right. Rather than wasting resources building luxury housing, housing can be built that is fully accessible so as to allow folks to be a full participant in their community and age in place as part of that community. Most importantly of all, through the establishment of tenant unions, tenants can stand up together against their landlords
We call on tenants across Chicago to see the struggle in your building and talk to your neighbors. This first step toward community safety and democracy is hearing each other. As the moratorium expires, we can expect landlords to resume terrorizing their tenants. The Chicago Tenants Movement can help you start a tenant union and organize around issues with your landlord or management company.
We can stand and fight in our buildings. From fighting for tenants rights in government and in our own buildings, our fights to Lift the Ban on Rent Control statewide, to win Just Cause for Eviction citywide, and for affordable housing protections surrounding the Obama Library can make basic tenants’ rights a reality. Join us for our next canvass or phone bank!