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[Press] Democratic Candidates Can’t Afford to Ignore the Nation’s Housing Crisis

An article written by Megan Giovannetti on January 13, 2020 from The Progressive Magazine addresses the issue of the nation's housing crisis, especially in California. Donald Frazier, the executive director of BOSS, gives his input on the issue.


More than half of Calfornians are spending a third or more of their income on housing. California’s homeless population has experienced a 17 percent increase since 2007, with large numbers of people becoming homeless due to evictions and unaffordable rent.

The housing and homeless crisis we are currently in “didn’t just happen overnight,” adds Donald Frazier, executive director of the nonprofit group Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) in Alameda County. Rather, he says, it stems from “a lot of historical and systemic, racist policies that are impacting these communities and the lack of re-investment back into these communities.”

Frazier highlights the problem of gentrification, which pushes people out of their neighborhoods as local governments and developers often prioritize profits over people. This comes in the form of outrageous rent increases and even evictions to accommodate high-income new-arrivals or creating profitable Airbnbs.

Yet this affects a demographic whose political power is undercut in California, as elsewhere, by statistically low voter turnout. Frazier adds that “Poor people, if they do vote, don’t have a representative or a lobbyist pushing policies as opposed to developers who are consistently spending a lot of money to push policies that benefit themselves.”

As a grassroots organization working directly with impacted communities in the Bay Area, BOSS would like to see a restructuring at the federal level that would cut down bureaucracy and bring funding directly to the people doing the work on the ground. This note seems absent from the affordable housing plans of presidential aspirants.

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