The Right to Housing Alliance is a human rights organization led by low-income residents. We’re a partnership of community members, organizers, and attorneys working to elevate housing to the level of a human right and secure community control over land. Through direct action, coalition building, education, and advocacy, we’re empowering new community leaders and building a movement to transform the housing system in Baltimore to value the principles of human rights.
Right to Housing Alliance grew out of Occupy Our Homes Baltimore, a working group of Occupy Baltimore, in December 2011. Initially working with homeowners facing foreclosure to help them stay in their homes, we soon had to ask ourselves what was going on in those blocks between the addresses of foreclosed homeowners. The housing problems in Baltimore go far beyond the recent foreclosure crisis. There is deep housing inequality stemming from treatment of housing as a commodity rather than a human right.
By June of 2012, adopting the “Sword and Shield” strategy pioneered by City Life/Vida Urbana in which legal strategy is the “shield,” protecting residents from foreclosure and eviction through the court, and grassroots community organizing is the “sword,” using the power of organized people to push forward transformative demands, we transitioned to a human rights-based approach and a focus on education and added a third element to the Sword & Shield model–collaborative learning, political education, and leadership development. Working closely with our partners at the Public Justice Center to adapt the CLVU model tactically to the rent eviction crisis in Baltimore and strategically to a human rights framework, we became the Right to Housing Alliance.
The Right to Housing Alliance Leadership Council is made up of Members who are leaders in the fight and help shape the movement we’re building for our human right to housing. The Leadership Council determines the vision, goals, and tactics of RTHA.