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Resolutions & Amendments

42nd International Convention - Las Vegas, NV (2016)

In Support of Affordable Housing

Resolution No. 49
42nd International Convention
Las Vegas Convention Center
July 18 - 22, 2016
Las Vegas, NV


Affordable and stable housing is necessary for educational attainment, health and wellness, economic security and a vigorous economy. Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights insists that housing is a part of a standard of living adequate for health and well-being. The U.S. federal standard of affordability indicates that a household spend no more than 30% of its income on housing and utilities; and


The majority of the population of the U.S., including AFSCME members and the people we serve, live and work in urban areas; and


Urban space is a crucial element of labor power because cities and urban areas are major centers of influence and engines of the global economy. The deindustrialization of many urban areas has had the effect of clearing union strongholds through the elimination of unionized worksites. Now the challenge of exploding housing costs makes it difficult for working families, union members and the constituents that support us, to afford homes or rents in the cities where they live; and


Organizing labor in cities provides unions with the benefit of urban infrastructure, concentrated networks of allies, a higher level of visibility and the opportunity to gather and communicate our message to very large populations; and


It is in urban areas that affordable housing shortages are most severe, particularly in the middle to low income brackets, as seen in Chicago, where almost 50% of residents are housing stressed which means they pay more than 30% of their income to keep a roof over their heads. National trends show that 53% of U.S. households make serious sacrifices to keep up with either mortgage or rent payments, such as cutting back in retirement savings, healthcare, healthy food and

paying credit card debt; many communities are destroyed because people are forced to move to worse school districts or unsafe neighborhoods; and


Income inequalities are reflected in the urban landscape. As housing costs steadily rise while real earnings stagnate, poverty becomes more concentrated and residential segregation increases. Consequently, the burden of high housing costs fall disproportionately on minorities, adults under 34 years old and households with incomes under $40,000 in cities such as Chicago; and


Public housing is one form of affordable housing that has been diminished. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) eliminated the one-to-one replacement requirement in 1998. The policy required that every public housing unit demolished or converted for other use must be replaced with a comparable public dwelling unit in the same neighborhood. Since 1998, demolished or converted public housing is not necessarily replaced resulting in a 20% loss of units; and


In cities such as New York City and New Orleans, municipal government is implementing affordable housing programs to curb the escalating costs that gentrify neighborhoods and displace longtime residents; and


Irresponsible state and municipal budgeting and policy decisions leave cities to rely on property taxes that burden middle to low income homeowners and tenants rather than seeking diverse revenue streams such as financial transaction taxes or progressive tax structures to fund public services.


That AFSCME supports efforts by states and cities to address affordable housing crises through policies such as tax incentives for middle income families to purchase homes, sufficient subsidies for lower income families, and incentives that developers may build more units, with appropriate parking if applicable, if they keep a significant amount affordable to families that make less than the median income; and



That AFSCME will renew its commitment to lobby Congress and present and support proposals directed to generate federal funding to invest in preserving and rehabilitating existing public housing and funding for quality affordable housing stock in distressed and gentrifying neighborhoods; and


That AFSCME will stand with working class residents and their communities to defend their health and well-being through fair urban development choices that benefit all.


SUBMITTED BY: Ellen Larrimore, President and Delegate

Linda Loew, Recording Secretary and Delegate

Patricia Johnson, Treasurer and Delegate

Jeanette Hernandez, Delegate

Nick Poplawski, Delegate

Stacy Alikakos, Delegate

AFSCME Local 1989, Council 31