Current People's Recovery Actions
How can we afford to live in Lancaster County?
Join us on Saturday, May 22nd to talk about our county’s growing housing crisis.
We’ll be discussing the increasing unaffordability of housing in our community, and the role of development companies and bad policy and governance in this crisis. We’ll talk about the rights of renters, and what everyday people like us can do.
The COVID-19 crisis has brought housing issues into sharp focus as millions of Americans have lost their incomes and are in danger of facing eviction or foreclosure. The American Rescue Plan is delivering significant relief, but not everyone knows about the resources that are now available. But the eviction moratorium is now under threat, which could result in millions being evicted.
Moreover, this relief doesn’t begin to address the longer-term problem of housing inequality and unaffordability.
If you or someone you know are facing housing affordability challenges, eviction, or problems with your landlord, you are not alone. Join with others across our community to figure out what we can do together.
Why a People’s Recovery?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been utterly devastating to our nation. Over half a million Americans have died from the disease—more than from World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. Tens of millions have lost their jobs, which has typically meant losing their employer-based health insurance as well. And physical distancing for such a long period of time has had a profoundly isolating effect, exacerbating mental health struggles, addiction struggles, and social isolation.
The COVID crisis has been all the worse because our nation was already in the midst of multiple unfolding crises. At the root of these crises: economic and racial inequality. In terms of “bread and butter” issues, the cost of life essentials like housing, healthcare, childcare, and higher education have been increasing exponentially, while wages for working-class people have remained stagnant for four decades. Here in Lancaster County, a housing crisis was already well underway prior to 2020, and it will still be with us (and getting worse) as we come out of the COVID crisis. Structural racism compounds this situation for people of color.
We now see a light at the end of the COVID tunnel. Vaccine production and distribution is rapidly ramping up. The American Rescue Plan Act is delivering billions in desperately needed relief to working-class and poor people, and it is projected that the bill will seriously cut the poverty rate. As we begin to recover from the havoc of the past year, we need to make sure that no one in our community is left behind.
What will the People’s Recovery do?
The People’s Recovery campaign will start with this important first step of checking in with our neighbors and connecting people to resources. But we won’t stop there. The opportunity we now have is to begin to confront the longer-term crises that had already been pushing our communities over the edge prior to the pandemic.
We’ll push on national legislation. We worked hard to defeat Trump and to deliver a Democratic majority in Congress, and we can’t afford to squander this opportunity. Now is the time for Congress to act to confront runaway inequality, fix our broken criminal justice system, fix our broken healthcare system, deliver affordable housing, confront the climate crisis and invest in new energy infrastructure, and more. We know that we will need to do our part to push them to act. One way we can do this is by pushing Senator Casey to be a champion on these issues (and that starts with Filibuster reform). Senator Casey has influence with the Biden Administration and with his Senate colleagues—and we have influence with Senator Casey.
We also need to focus our attention here locally, in Lancaster County. As we recover, we need to work to make our elected leaders work for us—all of their constituents—not for big donors and the economically powerful. That’s why, as part of the People’s Recovery, we’re relaunching our No Backroom Deals pledge, asking officeholders and candidates to declare that they will not take money from development companies and big corporations—because they are working for everyday working people. And when elected officials show consistently that they’re not working for their constituents, we will work to replace them.
As we engage with our neighbors, as we learn more about each other’s struggles in this moment, we will work to build people power together—that is, the ability to act together to shape the policy decisions that affect our lives. At the local level this might involve fighting evictions, or working to pass affordable housing policies at the municipal, county, or state level.
Yes, we now see a light at the end of the COVID tunnel. But we have a part to play in ensuring that the recovery leaves no one behind. We can be part of a people’s recovery that delivers for all of us.