Although 40% of Portland area residents live in rented housing, the political class continually indicates that their focus can only be the profitability of well-connected developers and the protection of higher-wage home owners. The needs of lower-income working people, especially those in service-economy jobs who badly need housing near those jobs, have been consistently left out of consideration.
As with the fight for $15, winning affordable housing will require a mass movement of working people, labor, and grassroots organizations. This movement cannot limit itself to what big business will accept, but must base itself on the needs of working people.
Rent Control - An Essential First Step
Economists commonly define affordable housing as "only" taking up to 30% of household income. But even that is out of reach for a great many households in metropolitan areas, where real estate developers and landlords are making profits hand over fist.
Rent control, which would tie all rent increases to the cost of living, is an essential first step. It would prevent rental costs from spiraling further and further out of reach of working people.
"No Mystery About Rent Control"
As Jess Spear, Socialist Alternative candidate for the Washington State House, said: "There is no mystery about rent control. Rent control would set limits and prevent the big property owners from rapidly raising our rents. Developers and their representatives hate rent stabilization laws for a reason - because they limit their ability to make massive profits on the backs of working people."
Come and Speak Out
Please join us for an open public forum on rent control. The evening is hosted by the Portland branch of Socialist Alternative, the organization that spearheaded the campaign to elect Kshama Sawant to Seattle City Council, the first independent socialist elected in a major U.S. city in decades. Branch leaders will offer perspectives on the political platforms of recent independent campaigns in the region that have included the demand for rent control, and event organizers will offer space for those most affected by this crisis to present their observations. We invite all members of the renting public to gather together and share their experiences and frustrations. The event intends unity under the declaration that city rental housing is in a state of emergency that demands immediate, emergency attention from policymakers.
7:30 PM Wednesday March 4th 2015
First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Avenue
ADA Accessible - Gender Neutral Restroom On Site
Coffee and cake will be served!