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11/6/2019 | Local Progress: A National Network of Progressive Local Elected Officials

First Local Progress Housing Convening Held in Durham, NC

Local Progress (LP), a movement of local elected officials advancing a racial and economic justice agenda through all levels of local government, held its first convening on Housing Justice in Durham, North Carolina in October. Nearly 50 LP members from Spokane, WA, and Berkeley, CA, to Portland, ME, Austin, TX, and dozens of localities in between, came together for two days of transformative learning and community building with CPD staff and other local electeds across the country.  

Our homes are the foundations for our lives. They are gathering spots, and places where we recharge, and connect with ourselves and our families. But too many people are forced to lay their foundation on shaky ground. Because of outrageous rent hikes, poorly-maintained and underfunded public housing, racial segregation of neighborhoods, increasing urban displacement, and corporate tax and land giveaways, more and more people in this country lack a home to thrive. CPD and our network of state-based affiliates are leading local, state, and federal campaigns to challenge the racist and corporate roots of our housing system, and build a model that works for us all. In the absence of federal leadership, it is local leaders who are at the forefront of ensuring that housing is a human right.

These elected officials took on challenging conversations about how often they find themselves in the crossfire of local fights on zoning and development, and how they work to navigate and address the tensions, pressures, and challenges directly experienced by residents. They discussed the need to produce new affordable housing and preserve existing homes, address a shortage of housing, and the growing need to confront exclusionary zoning. They also talked about  the need to pair growth with much stronger, durable protections for existing tenants and homeowners to combat evictions and displacement.

On a broader level, LP members discussed how to can take advantage of the current political moment: a presidential contest in which candidates and members of Congress are beginning to talk about housing as a right. 

Leaving Durham, their vision is straightforward and powerful. LP members want their communities to be at the forefront of redefining what it means to have an affordable, dignified home. At CPD, we believe housing is the bedrock of making communities safe and ensuring that all communities have e freedom to thrive. As elected officials, their role is to ensure that growth advances our values and happens with community at the center. Please make a donation to support the critical work today.