The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

Friday News Round-Up!

Needless to say, this has been an eventful week– not only at UHAB, but throughout the country! Here are some of the prominent stories:

  1. Romney eloquently belittled 47% of the country this week! Mother Jones leaked a video that featured Romney claiming that 47% of the country is “dependent on government” and believe that they are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” What Romney fails to realize is that most people don’t want to rely on government, but due to many more complex forms of marginalization and injustice, they need government subsidies to help. He also overlooks the fact that the “47%” do contribute to society– while the contribution is not in the form of income tax, it is in the form of payroll tax.  Interestingly, most of the “47%” folks pay a higher percentage of their income tax than Romney: “Among the American who paid no federal income taxes in 2011, 61 percent paid payroll taxes—which means they have jobs and, when you account for both sides of the payroll tax, they paid 15.3 percent of their income in taxes, which is higher than the 13.9 percent that Romney paid.” Perhaps Romney should do some more research before he makes such accusations next time…
  2. This past week marked the 1 year anniversary of the Occupy movement, started right here on Wall Street.  After some exciting days of protest, folks have organized a Free University! Over 130 workshops have been scheduled between September 18th to the 22nd, ranging from “Take Back the Land” to a “Strike Debt” workshop series to “Occupying Language.”  To us at UHAB, this has been one of Occupy’s greatest strengths: generating conversation about activism and alternative ways of structuring our world.  To participate in the final days of Free University NYC and to learn how to reconnect with that movement that once made you want to quit work and live in the street, check out the schedule of workshops here.
  3. Yesterday, the New York Daily News released a story asserting that New York is a great place to find quality affordable housing. In New York City, many tenants receive Section 8 vouchers which allows tenants to “pay one-third of their income as rent.” The article illustrates the “top 5″ Section 8 apartments in NYC, including spaces in West Harlem, Union Square, and the Bronx, and expresses that there are an additional 93,000 available Section 8 units in the city. However, there is an 124,000 person waiting-list to receive this government subsidy and the government is threatening to cut additional funding to this program. Our hope is that they offer more Section 8 vouchers in homes that look as good as these!

These are just some of the stories of the week! We’ll return next week with more news. Have a great weekend!

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