The July 2019 review will focus on the Tweets from housing advocacy groups. Just as these organizations warned of the 2008 Recession, they see another housing crisis forming in America. At its center, the old question of equity stolen from people because of this nation’s heritage of enslavement, cold, racist terrorism and bigotry. If this problem goes undefined and unanswered the nation will enter a long authoritarian period.
The often-told solution is an old retort of hard work, healthy homes, communities and families. The response is correct but blind to the history of privileges extended to white America as it became the United States. For centuries rights and freedoms extended to all people not of color without a moment’s reflection The crime of bias barred the accumulation of wealth from property to succeeding generations. The quiet, yet insidious reduction and denials of opportunity from education are proven.
Access to work from the ordinary trades to the most highly skilled professions is proven with painful references such as, “they are not ready,” or the best work suited “for them” is agricultural service. These actions still rip the opportunity for equity with intense generational impact on people of color. In the centuries that led to the rise of American hegemony no one, not one person, not W.E.B. DuBois or even Martin Luther King has been able to fully articulate what this loss of equity has meant to the people of color in America. The voice Ta-Nehisi Coates is the most current, (here) yet remains in the adjudication for reparations wilderness.
Ending the Wherever Movement
A new housing crisis is in the air for reasons other than systemic racism in America. For some time the crisis re-establishes this as classicism under the heading “culture war,” but the results change little. The facts on the structure of every “next disaster” can be different, technology now offers opportunities to build a broader coalition on equity with justice that includes race by making right past wrongs yet moves forward to circumvent long established rules of “divide to conquer.”
The surge of affordable single-family housing in America continues in the hot, wetlands of the south with sporadic drought and the flat dry lands of the southwest with asymmetrical flash floods. The onset of climate change will drown the wetlands, scorch and burn the dry lands and in doing so cause enormous disruptions in every region of the United States. Denying the annual recurrence of this possibility is just plain denial. These impacts have already been called out as “environmental racism” by pointing to the disproportionate number of low-and-moderate-income people losing equity. The damage and despair is a broad swath of pain targeted bigotry, but now it is thrown at all people.
After WWII, localities have kept their hand on the tail of the revenue bull, blind to the rest of the beast. In the last century, millions of households benefited from federal housing policies with only one location principle – housing wherever you want. In this new century reducing the mortgage interest subsidy on the demand side and weakening a long list of development incentives on the supply side has severely weakened federal leadership in housing preservation and development to continue the “build wherever” policy.
The opportunity to bring national policies back with conditions that mitigate the impact of regional climate change by region makes it possible to re-establish national housing development policies as the leading edge of a new strategy. It will be re-focused by climate protection that builds restoration with resilience. It will create sustainable equity in communities despite storms of enormous ferocity and designed to survive hatred, bigotry, as well as, high water, drought and fire.
Two Centuries Out
In the following summary of Tweets from the Housing Advocacy People (HAP) of July 2019 it may be possible to find threads of principle, and elements of novelty in current policy efforts that will alter the pervasive opinion that the size and purpose of the national government has not lost its way, that it will be possible to forge new policy from environmental protection as a national defense strategy forced by the bright light of survival. If the ocean’s tide is once again destined to flow up and into the Great Appalachian Valley from the ports of Maine to the shores of the South Carolina, over the next few centuries getting ready should be a top priority. Preparation for this kind of “sea change” in all of its meanings is the most important action of this century (the original map is here).
If the fate of the Gulf of Mexico is to be an alga thickened swamp we need ideas to be prepared, if the vast torrents of the Pacific Ocean alters the Gulf Stream and the surface heat of El Niño yields hundreds of tornadoes and hurricanes not being ready is a super bad idea. Whether friendly or with horrible force, from the sky or the sea, heed these words, “the water will come.”