People, Not Profit
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. This April, thousands, if not millions, of people will not pay their rent. We are banding together: folks who cannot pay and those who will join them in solidarity. We refuse to pay for the right to live. Many will have to choose between rent and food, and many won’t have enough for either. We will not sacrifice our lives to keep the market afloat, or to fill the pockets of real estate lenders and landlords.
We are in uncharted waters. We are waiting for government support but it may not come. This platform is here to bring as many people together in the #BayAreaRentStrike movement - knowing that there are real risks, but also knowing that we are many and we are in this together.
This is an invitation to join together and prioritize our lives and our communities over profit. Together, we can transform this moment of isolation into a moment of shared strength, support and compassion.
Join the #BayAreaRentStrike: https://bayarearentstrike.org/organize-a-rent-strike
There Is Strength in Numbers
It is now common sense that our health depends on one another—how we act, and what we do. On April 1st, when millions of us are out of work and we’re still expected to pay our rent or mortgage, we will need each other even more. Right now, 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. 58% can’t weather a $500 unexpected expense. And 20%, about 31 million workers, are already experiencing reduced hours or unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if everyone receives a check from the government, millions will still be forced to choose between groceries and rent.
We refuse to put our families, friends, neighbors, and communities at risk. In order to contain the virus, we are all staying home as much as possible. We can work together to prevent eviction and foreclosure. We can keep each other housed and fed. We must demand an immediate suspension of rent and mortgage payments for everyone. And if this demand is not met, we must refuse to pay our rents and our mortgages, together.
Talk to your neighbors and ask them to join. Write a letter to your landlord, explaining that you can’t pay your rent. Write a letter to your bank, explaining that you can’t pay your mortgage. Even if you can pay, participation in the strike is crucial. In order to support the most vulnerable people, we all have to participate. If no one pays, everyone can stay safely in their homes. For this to work, we all have to participate. We must act together, for each other. On April first, we will not pay.
How to Organize
You alone skipping rent is NOT a rent strike, and it’s not organizing. A rent strike is a type of protest where tenants as a group refuse to pay rent until specific demands are met. You organizing your building to not pay rent together is a rent strike. Historically, it’s been used against larger landlords to stop rent increases and fight for better living conditions. In this moment, a national rent strike could be used as pressure to push for bigger changes.
Your strike will be most effective if you take time to prepare, familiarize yourself with the process, and connect with local resources already mobilizing to support you in this process. We’ve come up with a list of steps to take to start the process with links to additional resources throughout. We recommend you set aside a day or two to learn about the process and organize yourself and your housemates, neighbors, and fellow tenants as much as possible
Organize Your #RentStrike: https://bayarearentstrike.org/organize-a-rent-strike