Last Monday, we joined Moms 4 Housing at the #ReclaimMLK march. We were stoked to see so many of you all out there with signs and drums and smiles and babies.

Moms 4 Housing is “a collective of unhoused and insecurely housed mothers, organizing to reclaim vacant homes from real estate speculators.”

One of the most disturbing parts about the armed eviction of the mothers of Moms 4 Housing is knowing that we paid for all of it.

The taxes we pay funds the county sheriff. And Alameda County and the City of Oakland overwhelmingly fund law enforcement over housing.

At least 45% of Oakland’s general budget goes to law enforcement. Yet, in the middle of an affordability crisis, Housing and Community Development gets 0% from our general budget.

This spending does not match our values. When surveyed, Oakland residents put housing in the top three issues we care about.

However, our local government treats it like an afterthought.

The status quo is failing to provide real solutions for the unhoused people of our city, preferring instead to double down on the use of force.

It’s an approach that is as inhumane as it is uneconomical. Cities that guarantee housing, like Salt Lake City, show that it costs nearly three times less to provide an attractive place to live than it does to police and provide emergency services for those living on the street.

And as Moms 4 Housing points out, “There are four times as many empty homes in Oakland as there are people without homes.”

Instead of force, what if our city doubled down on the use of compassion? What if the people of Oakland could decide the fate of our city? Imagine the future we could create for babies who hecka love people power?

These are not hypothetical questions. They are realities within our grasp.

Over the course of eight years, the Community Democracy Project (CDP) has built a movement to put Oakland residents in charge of the city budget.

By amending the city charter, we can enable participatory budgeting, which would allow all of us to choose how the city spends our money.

At CDP, we are inspired by the groundswell of local activists, organizations, and concerned citizens who are standing with Moms 4 Housing.

It’s clear that together, we have the love, wisdom, and will to decide our city’s future for ourselves.

You can show solidarity by supporting Moms 4 Housing and other local housing advocacy organizations:

  • East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative – “We create pathways for everyday people to organize, finance, acquire, and co-steward land and housing on our own terms because Housing is a Right Not a Commodity.”
  • Causa Justa – “[We] work to fight for resident decision making regarding development and pushing the government to prioritize housing and tenants’ rights.”
  • Bay Area Community Land Trust – “Making affordable housing a human right, through democratic co-ops.”
  • The Village in Oakland – “Creating autonomous solutions under leadership of unhoused women and pushing the city of Oakland to make real housing happen.”
  • Safer DIY Spaces – “Assisting at-risk live/work and artist community spaces with core safety improvements, full legalization, construction financing, and public policy initiatives.”
  • EveryOne Home – “We envision a county where all residents have a safe, supportive place to call home.”

These organizations are working every day to ensure that housing is respected as a human right. We can all be part of building that reality.

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