For a Moratorium on Foreclosures,
Utility Shutoffs, Evictions and Public Housing Demolitions

San Francisco Central Labor Council Resolution on Mortgage Crisis—Adopted June 9, 2008

Whereas, housing is a human right. Yet the nation’s homeless population is large and increasing thousands of units of public housing are being demolished and millions may lose their homes to foreclosure and eviction—all at a time when workers need the jobs at prevailing wages that building adequate housing for the people would provide; and

Whereas, a large number of Americans are losing their homes to foreclosure, many as a result of being victimized by the predatory practices of banks and mortgage companies. One in every four sub-prime mortgage victims is either in or near foreclosure. Soon, almost 10 percent of the homes of working families across the country could be in foreclosure; and

Whereas, the growing economic crisis has caused a big increase in the number of evictions of renters from their homes and apartments, and utility shutoffs facing those unable to pay their gas and electric bills; and

Whereas, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, 25 states adopted a moratorium (freeze) on foreclosures, and such moratoriums were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court; and

Whereas, Governors, State Legislatures, the President and Congress, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, have the statutory authority to declare a
moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions during a time of either natural or economic emergency disaster. In early 2007 the governor of Massachusetts decreed a two-month moratorium on foreclosures;

Whereas, Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke has introduced a bill calling for a two-year moratorium on foreclosures, in a state that is suffering the worst housing crisis since the 1930s, with tens of thousands also facing eviction and entire communities being decimated by abandoned and often vandalized homes which drive down property values—a situation also facing communities in other states as well; and

Whereas, 4,500 units of habitable or easily renovated public housing are being demolished or threatened with demolition in New Orleans, just as many thousands of public housing units in other cities have been demolished, leaving many residents without a home; therefore be it;

Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council call on the President and elected representatives to implement a moratorium (freeze) on home foreclosures, utility shut-offs and evictions; and be it further;

Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council call on the President and elected representatives to implement a moratorium on public housing demolitions, and that such demolitions shall not be allowed to proceed until all such public housing units have first been replaced with affordable units, on the basis of one-for-one replacement at comparable rents; and be it finally;

Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council work together with housing advocates and the trade union movement in a joint effort to bring about these reforms, and to establish the principle and practice that housing is a right for every man, woman and child living in the United States.