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Housing Security in a Time of Crisis: The Case for a Social Housing Development Authority

01/14 Thursday | 5pm

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Join the Institute for Public Knowledge for a conversation between Deborah N. ArcherThomas J. Sugrue, and Miriam Greenberg moderated by Andrew Ross. Co-sponsored by the Urban Democracy Lab (UDL) at New York University, this event is centered around a new white paper published by the UDL entitled “The Case for a Social Housing Development Authority”. Co-authors of the white paper, Gianpaolo Baiocchi and H. Jacob Carlson, will present and join the discussion. The conversation will be illustrated live by Rosa Colón Guerra.

To avoid massive evictions spurred by the coronavirus and to provide long-term community stability, researchers at the UDL are calling for the creation of a new federal housing authority. Outlined in a newly released white paper, the agency would purchase distressed real estate and transfer it to cooperatives, non-profits, and community land trusts. The white paper, “The Case for a Social Housing Development Authority,” based on months of research and dialogue with housing advocates, as part of the UDL’s Beyond The Pandemic effort, describes the new institution in some detail.

Recent research has shown than nearly half of renters spend more than a third of their income on rent while one-quarter of renters pay more than half of their earnings in rent. Moreover, UDL’s analysis of a Federal Reserve Board study shows that more than 50 percent of renters could not afford an unexpected expense of $400 based on current savings. Another study has concluded that massive unemployment brought on by the coronavirus could result in evictions that spur an increase in infections—a growing concern as moratoriums on evictions continues to expire. The Social Housing Development Authority (SHDA) would acquire distressed properties, notably multi-family rentals, and finance their transfer to the vast, existing social housing sector, all to the end of creating lasting solutions for the current housing crisis.

Deborah N. Archer is the Jacob K. Javits Professor at New York University, and Professor of Clinical Law; Co-Faculty Director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law; and Director of the Civil Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law. She is a nationally recognized expert in civil rights and racial justice, and teaches and writes in the areas of racial justice, civil rights, and community equity. Deborah is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she was awarded the Charles G. Albom Prize, and Smith College. She previously worked as an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she litigated in the areas of voting rights, employment discrimination, and school desegregation. She was also a member of the faculty at New York Law School for fifteen years and an associate at the firm Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett. Deborah is currently a member of the Board of Directors and General Counsel to the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union. She is also a former chair of the American Association of Law School’s Section on Civil Rights and Section on Minority Groups. She previously served on the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, the nation’s oldest and largest police oversight agency, and the 2018 New York City Charter Revision Commission. Deborah received the Otto L. Walter Distinguished Writing Award and the 2014 Haywood Burns/Shanara Guilbert Award from the Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference. Deborah was recently recognized by the New York Law Journal as one of New York’s Top Women in the Law.

Thomas J. Sugrue is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History and Director of the Cities Collaborative at New York University. The author of four books and editor of four others, he contributes to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the London Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Nation, and Salon.  He is a frequent commentator on modern American history, politics, civil rights, and urban policy. Sugrue has given over 350 public lectures throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe, South America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Miriam Greenberg is Professor of Sociology at the University of California Santa Cruz. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and is the author of Branding New York:  How a City in Crisis was Sold to the World (Routledge, 2008); Crisis Cities: Disaster and Redevelopment in New York and New Orleans (Oxford, 2014), co-authored with Kevin Fox Gotham; and The City is the Factory: New Solidarities and Spatial Tactics in an Urban Age, co-edited with Penny Lewis (Cornell, 2017).  She has also undertaken engaged, public-facing research projects exploring urban and environmental justice issues in California, including the Critical Sustainabilities project, which can be found at: https://critical-sustainabilities.ucsc.edu/, and (with Steve McKay) the project No Place Like Home, on the experience of the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz County, which can be found at: http://noplacelikehomeucsc.org/.

Andrew Ross is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University (NYU), and a social activist and analyst. He has authored and edited numerous books, and written for The New York TimesThe GuardianThe NationNewsweek, and Al Jazeera. Much of his writing focuses on labor, the urban environment, and the organization of work, from the Western world of business and high-technology to conditions of offshore labor in the Global South. Making use of social theory as well as ethnography, his writing questions the human and environmental cost of economic growth.

Jacob Carlson is an urban and political sociologist, focused on democracy, housing, and changing cities. His current research examines the various causes and consequences of gentrification and displacement – and the relationships between the two. Jake is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University’s Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4) and the Population Studies and Training Center (PSTC). Jake was previously a Dissertation Fellow with the Institute for Research on Poverty, a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Urban Democracy Lab, and a Research Fellow at Participatory Budgeting Project.

Gianpaolo Baiocchi is a sociologist and an ethnographer interested in questions of politics and culture, critical social theory, and cities. He has written about and continues to research instances of actually existing civic life and participatory democracy. His most recent work is Popular Democracy: The Paradox of Participation (Stanford University Press, 2016), which he co-authored with Ernesto Ganuza. The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life (co-authored with Elizabeth Bennett, Alissa Cordner, Stephanie Savell, and Peter Klein; Paradigm Publishers, 2014) examines the contours and limits of the democratic conversation in the US today. He is also the author, along with Patrick Heller and Marcelo K. Silva, of Bootstrapping Democracy: Experiments in Urban Governance in Brazil (Stanford University Press, 2011) and Militants and Citizens: Local Democracy on a Global Stage in Porto Alegre (Stanford University Press, 2005). He is the editor of Radicals in Power: Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil (Zed Press, 2003). An engaged scholar, Baiocchi was one of the founders of the Participatory Budgeting Project and continues to work with groups improving urban democracy. He heads Gallatin’s Urban Democracy Lab, which launched in 2014 and which provides a space for scholars and practitioners to collaborate and exchange ideas for cultivating just, sustainable, and creative urban futures.

Rosa Colón Guerra has been self-publishing comics with her friend Carla Rodríguez for over ten years in San Juan, Puerto Rico as Soda Pop Comics. She’s been published in The Nib, The Believer, The Lily and the Eisner winner Puerto Rico Strong Anthology from Lion Forge as well as the Ignatz Winner Be Gay, Do Comics!

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