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  • July 26, 2011
  • 5:48 pm

Housing as a Justice Issue

from Susan Rans, MA Social Justice Community Development Graduate Program Director 

     No matter which direction you turn these days, the issue of housing appears.  The struggling economy?  Collapse of the housing bubble and its questionable finances.  Neighborhood decline?  Mortgage foreclosures and their impact.  Unemployment? About one fifth of jobs are related to housing.  Homelessness?  See all of the above—housing.

     In addition to historical patterns of housing discrimination, the impact of predatory lending, and the disappearance of affordable and subsidized housing, these new aspects of the housing crisis make it an impossible issue to ignore.  And yet, housing is a really difficult subject to wrap your head around, as it is multi-faceted and complex.  Just arriving at definitions for all the terms mentioned so far requires some study and research.  I’ve often said that housing has a ‘secret language’—a series of acronyms and contributing factors that housing advocates use, inscrutable to most regular folks.  Fannie Mae?  Freddie Mac?  Section 8?  Section 221 (d) 3? Leverage? Derivatives?

     So how does a person who yearns for a just society enter this world?  Here at IPS, we have a great opportunity to learn from a master.  This Fall, Erica Pascal, housing attorney and activist, will lead us in an exploration of current housing issues.  In fact, that’s the title of the course: Current Housing Issues  (IPS 648).  A Community Development course open to anyone who wants to explore housing justice.  Just thought you’d want to know…