why it matters
You can’t shelter-in-place if you don’t have shelter in the first place: this pandemic has revealed deadly inequality in housing. As we re-emerge, everyone must have a safe home.
Space is safety, shelter is survival. Suspend all rent and mortgage payments - no foreclosures or evictions during the crisis. And no debt bombs waiting on the other side.
Immediate Housing for All
The pandemic has shown us that the rich can shelter in second homes while seniors, working class and vulnerable communities in overcrowded or inadequate housing face a possible death sentence.
This is unacceptable.
The most effective public health and anti-poverty plan we have is
housing for all.
Immediate Self-Determined Funding for Indigenous Communities
Before the pandemic, many Indigenous communities were already facing a housing catastrophe, with overcrowding and all the health and social costs that flow from it – including epidemics like TB.
This is what colonialism looks like.
The pandemic can and must be the occasion to change these conditions, forever.
Rent and Mortgage Moratorium
All levels of government must ensure that no one loses their home because the pandemic made them sick, broke, or otherwise unable to pay rent or a mortgage.
This is doubly true for those who were precarious before because of immigration status, unemployment, or other vulnerabilities.
Finally: debts cannot pile up, creating another disaster on the other side of crisis.
An Immediate Evictions Ban
No one should be evicted because of the pandemic. That means no eviction orders from the courts, and no enforcement of evictions by police. This requires a blanket commitment from the entire criminal justice system, from Attorneys General on down.
Utility Moratorium and Shutoff Ban
No one should lose access to electricity, heating, or hot water during the pandemic.
This is a question of health, justice, and decency.
During the crisis, provincial governments must direct utilities not to charge for these essential public services or cut anyone off.
As governments invest in economic recovery, we must solve the housing crisis. That means lots of new publicly owned, affordable and safe housing, lower rents, and strong tenant protections.
Long Term Self Determined Funding for Indigenous Communities
Any stimulus spending that addresses the housing crisis must first – at last – fix it in Indigenous communities. And those communities must have self-determination over how the money is spent.
Public investments in housing can be a down payment on reparations for colonialism. They must not be a tool to further sever Indigenous peoples from their lands.
Legislate and Entrench Housing as a Public Good
After weeks at home without income, the question of who owns your building really starts to matter. And when you don’t have a home, the thousands of empty hotel rooms and other indoor spaces are a cruel joke.
At least 40% of all housing should be publicly owned. We can reach this through new construction and taking unused buildings into public ownership. And this public housing must all be zero carbon too.
End Predatory Lending Practices
For many communities, predatory lending practices have made secure housing inaccessible. We must ensure that everyone who needs a loan is able to receive one at a fair rate.
Rent Control is Just the Beginning
As the economy restarts, expanding tenants’ rights is key to solving the housing crisis that the pandemic laid bare. We can give renters more security, and rein in ever-rising rents, with: a legislated cap on rent increases; a housing registry that lists all rents transparently; and financial disclosure from landlords, to keep rents in line with their costs and eliminate gouging.
The earth is the home we all share. A Global Green New Deal can take housing out of the market, provide zero-carbon beautiful public housing for all, and uphold Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.
Create Community “Land Banks” from Privately Owned Empty Properties
Housing is a human right, not a place to park surplus pools of money.
Properties sitting empty should be moved into community land banks, to be run on principles of local democracy and community ownership.
The Ultimate Goal is Pandemic-Proof, Climate-Safe Housing for All
An era of deadly pandemics is not the only global challenge we face. As we build and retrofit housing to give every single person a safe place to shelter, we must make all housing zero carbon at the same time.
Publicly Owned and Community Run Housing For All
Democracy begins at home: finance for housing should be democratized – through public banking, community IPOs, and other collective tools.
And all public housing should be run democratically by the folks who live in it.
Justice for Indigenous communities means returning the land that was stolen. As a start, all publicly-owned and Crown land must be returned to the Indigenous nations whose territory it is.
The Leap is fighting for a People's Bailout. We're working with partners to advance urgent demands around Housing, Health Care, Work, and more.
Our demands were developed with inspiration from the leadership of the following groups, who are organizing in the face of COVID-19 to meet immediate needs and win long-term change within their own communities.
Find out more about their work here: