Reports & Publications

Defending Our Homes: Bay Area Tenant Groups Respond to the Social Crisis of COVID-19

Principal Authors: Olivia Shizu Higa of Stanford University; Tameeka Bennett, Tony Samara, and James Huynh of Urban Habitat

Published by: Regional Tenant Organization Network

For many people in the Bay Area, housing insecurity was a major issue even before the coronavirus hit. Profit-driven speculation, a lack of genuinely afford-able housing, and few real protections for renters were fueling regional resegregation and putting tens of thousands of households at risk. When COVID-19 arrived, it exacerbated the weak-nesses of an already failing housing system. The displacement crisis has left already vulnerable households completely exposed to the social and economic shocks that the pandemic unleashed. Now, more than ever, we need stable housing to keep peoples safe and healthy.

This report attempts to capture what tenant organizing groups are seeing and doing on the ground in response to COVID-19. While this is indeed a moment of crisis, it is also an opportunity to create the foundation for a just recovery. All too often, those bearing the brunt of a crisis are left out of the solutions.