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Section 8 vouchers for all who qualify!

from the Editors  |  Issue: November | December 2017

Food and water are humanity’s first priority. Clothing and a roof over your head come next.

In human — humane — society, these are fundamental rights. We do our best to assure that everybody has these basics. In a mass society, that’s what government is for — or at least what it should be for.

So what kind of society builds massive luxury apartment towers while millions of people — 600,000 in Los Angeles alone — live on porches, in sheds, in basements, in their cars, or on the street?

What kind of society uses a lottery to choose the tiny number of homeless and all-but-homeless who will get taxpayer assistance to pay their rent?

What kind of society uses that aid to guarantee profits to the very landlords whose rent increases are pushing millions of people over the edge?

That society is capitalist society, our society today. And it will take a heads-up movement of the rest of us — a working-class movement — to take power, make the changes necessary, and house our people — all of our people.

Meanwhile, imagine the federal government rationing Unemployment Insurance, so that only the first 3.3 percent of people who show up get to stand in line.

Imagine it rationing Social Security, so that only 20,000 out of 600,000 old folks who qualify will get their checks.

Imagine Medicare using a lottery system to decide who gets to see the doctor – now or ever – no matter how bad that person’s health is.

That’s exactly what the government is doing with Section 8 housing vouchers.

Financed with taxpayer dollars distributed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Section 8 housing is available to only a tiny portion of the millions who qualify.

That’s immoral, a crime against humanity.

We should demand that the federal government make Section 8 vouchers available to everyone who qualifies. More than that, it should make landlord discrimination against Section 8 a federal crime. And it should put a cap on rents, so that speculators can’t just milk the public treasury.

Making that clear to people, organizing around it, mobilizing to make it happen — all that can help unite the working-class around getting what folks need.

And that will build our movement to take power.

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