Jewish tradition teaches us that we have an obligation to ensure fairness in tenant/landlord law, to ensure safe living conditions, and to prevent homelessness. The Book of Lamentations compares homelessness to the loss of a parent or spouse. Without a home, there is no foundation for all other [...]
Without a secure home, normal social relations fall apart, and happiness becomes impossible. Homelessness brings with it fear, depression and a loss of grounding. The Book of Lamentations compares homelessness to the loss of a parent or spouse. By contrast, the establishment of a permanent home promises lasting security. Thus, God’s ultimate promise to the Jewish people, articulated first in God’s covenant with Abraham, is the guarantee of a home: “I will establish a home for my people Israel and will plant them firm, so that they shall dwell secure and shall tremble no more.” (2 Samuel 7:10)
– Jill Jacobs, “There Shall Be No Needy” p.133-4
Housing is a human right. Everyone has a right to housing that is affordable, safe, sanitary, and stable. Yet Montgomery County is facing an affordable housing crisis.
Close to 40 percent of Montgomery County residents are renters. Most spend more than a third of their income on rent. Legal protections for renters are weak. Laws provide little control over how much landlords and developers can increase rents in the County. Rents continue to rise while real income for working people has been in decline since 2008. This growing affordability gap is driving thousands of residents out of the County.
COVID-19 has exacerbated Montgomery County’s affordable housing crisis. Residents’ loss of household income now threatens to give rise to an epidemic of evictions. Despite the federal and state-level eviction moratoriums, landlords continue to send tenants eviction notices to tenants unable to afford their rent. Landlords also have the power to refuse the renewal of leases when they expire, forcing tenants from their homes during a public health emergency when staying at home promotes both personal and communal safety. Hundreds of thousands of Montgomery County residents are on the brink of homelessness.
In Montgomery County, JUFJ is working with partners and government officials to advocate for housing stability (providing due process legal protections for individuals and families facing the prospect of eviction), protections for renters, and the expansion of opportunities for the development of safe and affordable housing in our County. Montgomery County must reverse the trend that has led to the loss of 25,000 affordable rental units over the past 10 years. And we can advocate for more affordable, more available, and more secure housing for all.
Our partners include: CASA, Montgomery County Renters Alliance, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Montgomery Housing Partnership, Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America, and Progressive Maryland.
Want to get more involved in this campaign? Contact an organizer.
- When the Montgomery County Council proposed legislation that would give hundreds of millions in tax breaks to developers building on top of WMATA property, JUFJ and our partners successfully advocated for the legislation to mandate more affordable units and a 12-year sunset to the bill.
- When COVID-19 first threatened renters in Montgomery County, JUFJ and our partners advocated to #CanceltheRent and to pass the COVID 19 Renter Relief Act, which limits rent increases to 2.6%
Resources for Renters
Montgomery County Resources:
- The Montgomery County Housing for All Program
- Montgomery County COVID-19 Resources for Renters
- Montgomery County Resources for Tenants to Avoid Eviction
February 14 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Join us for our next Housing Team meeting to get updates about current affordable housing campaigns and take action together. Everyone is welcome! You will receive call-in instructions via email after you RSVP.