Creating Housing Futures Together
Housing as health, housing as community, housing as liberatory — that is the future we are working toward. Bright and bold housing futures for our communities mean new models and approaches that are unapologetically inclusive of all, imagined and made possible by the brilliance, insights, and guidance from the communities most impacted by housing inequities.
Building on the legacy of Fair Housing Month, every April Housing Futures Month calls on each of us to consider how we can contribute to designing and implementing housing models that allow everyone the stability and ability to dream about and pursue bold futures. The goal of Housing Futures Month is to raise awareness of the important role that housing plays in shaping our communities and individual lives and to encourage collaboration and innovative thinking to address our current and future housing challenges.
Today, more than 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968′s prohibition against housing discrimination, exploitative and discriminatory real estate practices and deep inequities proliferate. In this chapter of our collective histories, the timeline of progress has been designed to lock Black, Brown, and Indigenous people out of the future. Under constant threat of displacement from their homes, and often occupied with planning how to survive the next day, week, or month, Black, Brown, and Indigenous people and communities — many holding intersectional identities across race, gender, nativity, disability, sexuality, and religion — are left with little space or time to dream about and plan for their futures. Families can have housing, job, and educational opportunities without experiencing poverty, but this is only possible when they aren’t being pushed out of their communities through eviction, redevelopment, rising rents, and property taxes — when community investment is prioritized over profit. In addition to material resources, communities need space and time to think more creatively, expansively, and positively about the futures of their neighborhoods, to envision what a thriving community looks like for them.
The housing crisis requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach that involves all stakeholders and seeks to address the root causes of the housing crisis, such as income inequality, systemic discrimination, and a lack of affordable housing options. Today, a person’s zip code is a strong determining factor in the quality of life they can expect. Housing Futures Month encourages us to build futures where people in all zip codes can thrive, engaging people from all backgrounds to envision and work toward creating inclusive, affordable, and sustainable housing models for the future. We use the month of April to dream, vision, explore, play, and create new housing futures together!
Housing Futures Month is an opportunity to reimagine our approach to housing and to work towards a future where everyone has access to safe, affordable, and dignified housing. This can only be achieved through collective action, innovative thinking, and a commitment to promoting equity and inclusion in all aspects of housing policy and practice.
Housing Futures Month Syllabus
- Housing Futures Month Syllabus
The HFM Syllabus provides a variety of materials, tools, and activities as part of our Housing Futures Month to engage deeper in the many facets of housing futures. You can choose your own adventure — working solo, with your family, in your community, in any order you want — this is meant to be adapted and remixed in whatever ways support your exploration.
- Download the HFM Brochure
Housing Futures Month Events
Housing Futures Month Articles and Videos
Housing Futures Principles
No matter where we come from or where we live, we should all be able to have a safe, stable place to come home to. This is how it could be, but the way housing is set up in America, too many Black, brown, Indigenous, disabled, and low-income people have been locked out of this dream. The following principles should be central to supporting new housing futures for communities that have faced decades of housing divestment and displacement to design just housing futures across the country.
- Communities most affected by disinvestment should shape our housing futures. Communities that have been systematically denied opportunities for fair housing over generations should be at the front of the table in designing new housing policies and investments, and be able to hold governments accountable to action.
- Prioritize protecting renters and homeowners from displacement. Bolstering renter protections against displacement and eviction is critical to building community and family health and stability.
- Ensure freedom from housing discrimination. No matter your race, class, disability status, or religion, everyone should have access to a safe, stable home.
- Expand opportunities and housing options for those in disinvested neighborhoods. New investments can open opportunities for residents of disinvested neighborhoods to access good schools, jobs, transportation, and other public services –– and ultimately offer them expanded housing options.
- Build a future where all neighborhoods allow communities to thrive. Today, a person’s zip code is a strong determining factor in the quality of life they expect. By directing our public funds to neighborhoods that have faced generations of divestment, we can build a future where people in all zip codes can thrive.
Key Questions for Shaping Liberated Housing Futures
The pandemic underscored the need for new and refreshed approaches to housing justice that address the roots of systemic racial inequities, with a ethics of reckoning, repair, healing, transformation, and equity. To determine these approaches, we can ask ourselves key questions, such as:
- What would it look like to scale up and replicate existing models that seek to address and repair longstanding housing discrimination?
- How might we develop new models for spatial reparations, land restitution, and housing abolition to achieve collective impact for the 100 million who have been systematically locked out of housing opportunities for centuries?
- How do we apply abolitionist and liberatory frameworks to housing in order to both dismantle current systems and create a new world with new systems — instead of the same old world with reconfigured systems?
- How do we invoke Black, Brown, and Indigenous spatial and temporal imaginaries in envisioning and creating these new worlds and new futures?
- How do we reimagine the ways we collaborate with impacted people and communities to build sustainable power?
- How do we co-develop new solutions for tackling housing insecurity and creating equitable housing futures outside of the crisis-response model and the sense of time urgency that leaves little time and space for communities and individuals to plan for and live out their futures?
- How can we decentralize wealth accumulation as one of the primary goals of housing policy?
- How do we decommodify housing as the foundation on which health is built and center it as a platform of health, culture, and community?
Housing Futures Month is founded by Rasheedah Phillips, our Director of Housing. If you haven’t already, check out this Q&A to get to know her better. You can find this work on our website, and be sure you’re following PolicyLink on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This campaign is an invitation to explore together. Throughout April and beyond, we’ll be sharing adaptable and interactive materials, so as you join us, share about your journey using #HousingFuturesMonth.