Below is a video testimony given at "The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values" Boston service on August 1, 2016, about the need for adequate housing. A transcript of the video follows:
I immigrated to the United States with my mother and sister and settled in East Boston when I was five years old. We lived with my father in a three bedroom apt, but not for long. As renters, we lived in four different homes by the time I turned sixteen.
Through this experience, I felt compelled to help city life/Vida Urbana, based right here in JP, fight displacement.
Thousands of families are receiving no-fault notices to quit and vacate their units. Thousands of good neighbors who have weaved our social fabric are being asked to leave. Thousands of neighbors who have diligently paid rents are forced to live in poor conditions, with pests and a lack of running water or heat in the winter. Rents are drastically raised and conditions continue in order to drive us out.
Corporate investors have looked at our neighborhoods and declared an opportunity for wealth hanging over our homes. They have purchased buildings, issued hundreds of eviction notices to existing families so that others could move in and pay more.
Housing instability plagues the lives of people in our communities. Children become witnesses to abusive landlords who cause their parents overwhelming stress and anxiety worthy of hospital visits. They become witnesses to the poor conditions that often prompt hospital visits, as well. These evictions help destroy the bodies of those we love, our neighbors. People enter some of our meetings, shaking, crying, frantic because their child was just admitted to a good neighborhood school after months of waiting, and a successful eviction would nullify the fruits of their patience. People become removed from themselves as they battle depression that makes them feel responsible for greed they didn't create.
It is not inherently immoral that affluent people are moving into our neighborhoods. It is immoral that corporate landlords and investors are rooting families out of their cultural Meccas and inducing emotional struggles that affect their bodies and the quality of life they can provide their children. It is immoral that they think they can move us around for a few bucks and force us to part with our neighbors without concern for our futures. It is unjust that we do not have freedom over our movements, the right to decide where we can call home or the right to a home at all.
That is why I urge you all to support Just Cause Eviction, a proposal that would force landlords to have just reasons to evict our neighbors.