Save our homes: workshops and action!
Since 1994, the Conference has been designed primarily for tenants in privately-owned HUD housing developments, NAHT's membership base. This year, however, they have added several workshops that may also be of interest to Public Housing and Voucher tenants, namely around the HUD budget crisis in Washington and how we can join forces to fight back.
This 17th Conference, as well as the previous one, is an open space to build collaboration to fight together for housing right, especially after the World Assembly of Inhabitants (WSF Dakar, February 2011) and in preparation of World Days for the Right to Habitat (October 2011).
Of the 20 workshops overall, there are two presented by Barbara Sard of CBPP on the budget crisis, and another on the national Save Our Homes Campaign. They've also added a new workshop on problems with HUD's EIV recertification process, which affects Public Housing as well as Multifamily. Other workshops on How to Build a Tenant Group, How to Raise Funds for Your Group, How to Work the HUD Bureaucracy and others are broader in scope than just HUD Multifamily housing.
Especially, we emphasize the workshop on Next Steps in the U.S. and Global Movement for Housing as a Basic Human Right. This workshop will explore NAHT’s campaign to win eventual adoption of the treaty by the US Senate and discuss implementation of the Report on US Housing Rights by UN official Raquel Rolnik. They will also discuss report on the recent campaign to hold the US accountable to international human rights standards, and make linkages with housing rights struggles in the US and around the globe, especially after the World Assembly of Inhabitants (WSF Dakar, February 2011) and in preparation of World Days for the Right to Habitat (October 2011).
The opening plenary luncheon on Sunday June 19 will also feature an overview of the budget crisis and the Save Our Homes Campaign, with speakers from Public Housing groups, homeless advocate Eric Sheptock, Barbara Sard and a representative from HUD's national Employees Union. It's also hoped that REAC Director David Vargas join a plenary "Eyes and Ears" tenant panel with HUD officials on June 20, so there is potential for collaboration in this session also.
On Tuesday June 21, there will have a demonstration planned with local DC tenant groups at a Bank of America branch, and a march to the Treasury, demanding that BOA and other tax cheats pay their fare share, to avert deep budget cuts to HUD and other vital programs.
That will be followed by a Lobby Day Forum at the historic Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill (where the Watergate hearings were held), with invited Senators and their staff.
June 19, 2011
To the National Alliance of HUD Tenants
Save our homes through a collective struggle in the US and abroad
At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on the success of your important Conference reinforcing the motivations of both tenants and all of American society in general in the fight to defend and develop the housing social sector, a vital element in asserting the right to housing, thanks to policies based on the supremacy of public intervention in the market on the state, national and international levels.
As well, I’d like to stress that we received confirmation of this same important commitment to this side of the fight that one year ago already during our meeting in Detroit at the US Social Forum, sharing content as well as an open and collaborative approach.
For these reasons, we have whole-heartedly welcomed the USA-Canada Alliance of Inhabitants, the network of about 50 groups and organizations working to claim the universal right to land and housing in which the NAHT is a key collaborator and a strategic support.
For these same reasons, your 17th Conference as an open platform for the development of this strategic collaboration, especially since the Conference is taking place between the World Assembly of Inhabitants (WSF Dakar, February 2011) and World Days for the Right to Habitat next October, a date chosen by all of the international networks that are part of the Liaison Committee.
This approach reveals the importance of all of the initiatives on the agenda, including a “visit” to the office of a major corporate “tax cheat” in downtown Washington—the Bank of America—to take the message to the US Treasury to “Tax the Cheats, Save Our Homes!”, as well as the Next Steps in the US and Global Movement for Housing as a Basic Human Right workshop.
This is a matter of building together a shared forum for inhabitants’ organizations to exchange ideas, share strategies and work together in solidarity globally with local struggles.
The importance of working together is therefore evident. The next step is the coordination of shared initiatives during the World Days for the Right to Habitat in October, because it goes without saying that only together can we win the fight to end the housing and global crisis by building another possible world.
Your struggle is our struggle!
Ciao in solidarity.
The Volunteer translator for housing rights without frontiers of IAI who has collaborated on the translation of this text was: