Submitted by liberateyourcom... on Fri, 12/28/2012 - 15:04
The Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign was born out almost out of necessity, according to founder and chair J.R. Fleming.
In 2009, Chicago - as was much of the nation - was bearing the brunt of the home foreclosure crisis. More and more people were evicted as property owners were losing their buildings to foreclosures. In October that year, a United Nations housing mission came to Chicago on a fact-finding trip to look at the housing crisis.
Toussaint Losier, CAEC vice chairperson, was organizing the mission on the U.N. side as a volunteer at the time.
J.R. Fleming, the CAEC chair, was involved in a steering committee that helped arrange for the U.N. group to visit Chicago. In 2009, he was doing anti-eviction work for the then still-standing Cabrini Green housing project.
"Chicago was our first stop," Losier said, on a tour of seven U.S. cities.
He was also doing work for the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and fighting for residents in South Africa. He said he saw parallels in the Chicago housing troubles to those in Cape Town. After its fact-finding trip, the U.N. mission had challenged Chicago to get involved with anti-eviction work as a human rights issue, and the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign was born.
The CAEC and groups like it across the U.S. are starting to combine their efforts.
Ryan Acuff, founder of Take Bake the Land in Rochester, N.Y., said groups like his and the CAEC have a common goal to make housing permanently affordable.
"We're trying to turn around and reorganize housing as a human right," he said.