• Description

The concept of housing justice—ensuring everyone has affordable housing that promotes health, well-being, and upward mobility by confronting historical and ongoing harms and disparities caused by structural racism and other systems of oppression—has gained momentum in the last decade across advocacy and organizing, policy, direct services, and research spaces. Building on the current housing justice movement in Los Angeles, this research seeks to understand the role of community power building as a strategy to create, implement, and sustain solutions to achieve more equitable and just outcomes in housing systems.

To better under the landscape and activities of current power-building efforts around housing justice in Los Angeles—including their broader context, impacts, opportunities, and limitations—we conducted 21 interviews with community stakeholders. Our main findings are as follows:

  • Recent catalyzing events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and shifts in the broader political and narrative landscape around homelessness, housing instability, and electoral change are driving community power building for housing justice in Los Angeles.
  • Community power-building activities fall into several categories, including base building, legal and research support, and policy change, and have resulted in shifts toward housing justice.
  • Coalitions have played a key role in advancing housing justice while simultaneously providing benefits for member organizations, although this has at times contributed to tensions around different strategies or priorities.
  • Addressing housing-related systems and structures, focusing on tenant and rental protections, and shifting power to directly impacted communities are ongoing priorities for the field.