The People’s Land and Housing Alliance
In 2017, Urban Habitat and several of our allies launched the People’s Land and Housing Alliance (PLHA) to coordinate efforts to advocate for and implement community-based solutions across the Bay Area. The PLHA brings together community organizations, new and existing community land trusts, and groups that provide technical and legal support.
The People’s Land and Housing Alliance (PLHA) is a response to the structural failures of markets and local governments when it comes to the housing crisis specifically and, more broadly, to the inequalities in land distribution and use. We recognize that the growing tenant movements in the Bay Area and around the state represent a frontline response to the crisis by impacted communities, and we stand in solidarity with them. Building upon their work, the PLHA focuses on long-term solutions to the housing crisis that fully take into consideration the race, gender, disability, environmental, and class inequalities that have defined housing policy throughout US history, and that must be grounded in the principles of housing justice.
The regional housing crisis is rooted in the exclusion of low-income communities and communities of color from important short- and long-term decisions about land and housing policy. Instead, these decisions are left to market forces, where demand is measured by wealth, and to elected officials who are too often unresponsive or unaccountable to the needs of these communities. As a result, housing prices and land values are skyrocketing, and thousands of Bay Area residents face the threat of eviction and homelessness. Displacement and forced relocation are direct threats to the long-term health, stability, and prosperity of low-income communities and communities of color. Sustainable, long-term solutions demand that we transition to a housing system that prioritizes individual, family, and community stability and health, and which views land and housing as a central means to these ends.
PLHA Organizational Members
- Affordable Housing Network
- Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
- Bay Area Community Land Trust (BACLT)
- Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto (CLSEPA)
- East Bay Community Legal Center (EBCLC)
- East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EBPREC)
- Eden Community Land Trust
- Northern California Community Land Trust (NCLT)
- Oakland Community Land Trust (CLT)
- Richmond LAND (Local Action in Neighborhood Development)
- San Francisco Community Land Trust (SFCLT)
- SOMOS Mayfair
- South Bay Community Land Trust (SBCLT)
- Sustainable Economies Legal Center (SELC)
- Urban Habitat
PLHA Principles & Values
PLHA’s solutions work to build the movement for land justice and collective ownership and informed by the following shared values:
- Housing is a human right!
- Present-day land policy and real-estate economics are rooted in the theft and expropriation of lands from indigenous people. We stand in solidarity with indigenous peoples and indigenous-led efforts to access, free, protect, reclaim, and restore their land. We recognize that human rights are aligned with good stewardship of the natural world.
- Land is a public good that should be regulated to serve the public interest. Publicly owned land should be returned to indigenous populations or used for permanently affordable housing and other public uses.
- Displacement and houselessness are symptoms of the greater housing crisis; thus, houseless and displaced people should be at the forefront of the fight for land and housing. Unsheltered individuals deserve to live in dignity and should be able to determine their own futures.
- Low-income, working-class, and communities of color bear the burden of the housing and climate crises and the inequitable distribution of land in the Bay Area. These communities must be at the forefront of creating and implementing short- and long-term solutions to these problems
- Long-term solutions to the housing crisis require the protection of renter households at risk of displacement, the preservation of homes occupied by and affordable to low-income residents, and the production of new housing that is permanently affordable to low-income communities.
- Long-term solutions to the housing crisis should be centered around creating permanently affordable housing that is under the democratic control of residents and communities while moving away from market-driven approaches.
PLHA is a space for housing and land rights advocates to strategize about anti-displacement initiatives and work together to affirmatively build and implement solutions - including policies, models, and strategies - that defy market-based solutions and prioritize people over profits. One of our strengths lies in our unity, and members of the alliance seek alignment with one another and commit to leveraging our skills, experience, and knowledge in the spirit of advocating collectively toward our goals.
If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Chris Schildt at cschildt [at] urbanhabitat.org.