Campsite protesters call for maintaining the national moratorium on evictions

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As part of the national movement to cancel rents and stop evictions, local protesters camped overnight in front of the Bernalillo Metropolitan Court from Friday September 24 to Saturday September 25 as part of national days of protest by Cancel rents. The campout comes in reaction to the recent decision taken by the United States Supreme Court to repeal the national moratorium on evictions that was enacted during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the camp, organized largely by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, about 20 activists were installed with tents, food and signs for the demonstration. Workshops were presented on how to make aid kits for homeless community members as well as how to fill out requests for assistance to notoriously unstable emergency tenants.

While camps were set up on the court’s lawn, requests were made via a megaphone in the direction of the busy Lomas Boulevard.

“Fight! Fight! Fight” chanted the demonstrators. “Housing is a human right.

Carrying painted banners and printed placards, speakers from various groups within the Albuquerque community such as the Peace and Justice Center, the homeless population and those who could be evicted expressed their distress at the worsening the housing crisis.

“The banks have been bailed out; we have been sold, ”the protesters called.

Their songs and rallying cries were greeted with both enthusiastic honking and heckling from passers-by.

Organizers echoed grievances held across the country over the country’s failure to cope with the housing crisis amid a global pandemic, according to lead organizer Chris Banks.

“This protest is part of the national (days) of action, called Cut Rents,” Banks said. “He was called after the Supreme Court overturned the CDC’s moratorium on evictions, which puts 11 million people at risk of deportation.”

The banks said their calls to action were specifically national and national.

“Here in Albuquerque, in particular we are asking that Governor (Michelle) Lujan Grisham convene a special session of the state legislature to adopt an indefinite moratorium on evictions,” Banks said.

So far, the New Mexico Supreme Court has upheld its moratorium on evictions without setting a expiration date. However, Banks said he was in a precarious position.

“For now, the New Mexico Supreme Court has stayed (the execution of the United States Supreme Court’s decision to end the moratorium), but it has the power to lift these deportations at any time,” Banks said. “We need the state legislature to take action.”

Banks said the federal government’s $ 178 million in tenant assistance was dispersed too slowly, with only about $ 38 million distributed to New Mexicans as of September 3. With a September 30 spending deadline, much of that fund could be reallocated to other states as New Mexico faces a lingering housing crisis.

Many protesters in attendance also highlighted grievances with budget allocations at the federal, state and local levels.

“The amount of debt owed by tenants right now is 8% of what the United States spends on the military,” said Bex Hampton, PSL member and local activist. “A small cut in the military would make a big difference to working class people in the country, but Congress has not moved to do it.”

Hampton said that at the local level, they would like to see funds previously allocated to law enforcement and recreation projects redirected to helping homeless people in the city.

Other demands were raised: the formation of a tenants union, additional social housing and streamlined tenant support.

“Between 2018 and 2019, New Mexico saw the biggest increase in homelessness at 27%, which is shocking,” said Hampton.

Hampton cited the List of apartments 2019, who found that “more than half of renters in Albuquerque spend at least 30% of their salary on rent,” which was a higher percentage than notoriously expensive cities like Portland or San Francisco.

Dylan Haworth is a freelance journalist for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @ dylanhaworth2


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