Whether or not your employment has been impacted by the current pandemic, we’ve certainly come to know just how deeply unaffordable Asheville actually is.
How many of us are actually able to comfortably afford housing, which is defined as earning between $16 and $17 per hour while being physically capable of regularly working 51 hours per week — during a pandemic no less? For our black and brown neighbors, the answer is even less encouraging.
The refusal to admit harm is a deeply concerning trait among Asheville’s landlords and elected officials. But if we come together and help each other out, we can harness our ability to fight back — and win.
Unemployed Humans Organizing Help (UHOH!) is providing assistance to locals resisting evictions. Even with the eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent set to expire next week, courts already have permission to schedule hearings for landlords looking to evict tenants on the grounds of health and safety violations. For instance, this could apply to those who house a pet that has not been approved or providing shelter for a friend who has run out of money.
Tenants who can’t afford rent may still find themselves evicted in the coming weeks. Starting on Monday the 22nd, even though landlords won’t be able to sue to collect rent for five and a half months, courts will begin scheduling their eviction hearings. By July and August, thousands of locals could be without housing.
Asheville Blade editor David Forbes explains it here: www.facebook.com/groups/AshevilleSurvivalProgram
Many of us can’t or in solidarity won’t pay rent. Renters, and especially renters of color, face impossible asks from landlords during the pandemic: pay or get out. Why do millionaires and billionaires cash in nationally, but renters who underpin our entire economy must risk the health of ourselves and our loved ones just to pay rent?
Please join the strike even if you have the money to pay, as solidarity provides the numbers that will bring us victory, even for the most vulnerable. Here’s a video calling for a rent and mortgage freeze that was recently produced by Unemployed Humans Organizing Help (UHOH).
Join this work to avoid eviction. Also join because tenants rights is a racial justice issue. Did you know that members of black and Latinx communities are twice as likely to rent than white people? Locals are already forced to choose between income and health, exposure to Covid-19 or eviction. By winter, they may take even greater risks if it means they do not freeze. Show up for yourself and each other. Join UHOH. Tell your neighbors to do the same.
From car parades, to protesting outside of the mansions of landlords, to winning rent cancellations and ownership of landlords’ properties, tenants groups across the country are creating new ways to oppose a system that is cruel even in normal times.
Please join us and let’s keep ourselves safe and housed.
Black voices “How can we win?” For resources, please visit uhohavl.org