This year has been a challenging one. But there is a feeling, amongst some that when we get to 2021, everything will get better; Covid-19 vaccines will be distributed, the pandemic will finally be over, and we can return to normal. In actuality, with the federal eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of the year, cold weather, and Covid spikes crippling small businesses, the darkest days of the pandemic are right around the corner.
A case can be made for a small business bailout, but what we really need is an extension of the eviction moratorium. We need an eviction moratorium 2.0 that forgives back rent tenants owe their landlords. Without bold, New Deal-style legislation from the Biden Administration and compassionate action from local courts and sheriffs, the nation is going to see an eviction tsunami of historic proportions. Evictions deprive individuals and families of shelter. There is a strong correlation between evictions and the spread of Covid-19. In other words, evictions are a death sentence.
On an unrelated note, the Winston-Salem Journal reports that “In the 70 years since the founding of Old Salem, officials said, the museum and gardens have been involved in 240 land and home purchases and sales.” They didn’t mention Old Salem, Inc.’s failure to preserve historic Happy Hill, just across the creek from Old Salem, Inc. Nor did Winston’s paper of record mention Old Salem’s participation in the Gateway Project; an effort to gentrify Happy Hill and adjacent neighborhoods.
Old Salem is essentially a non-profit land trust with a museum component. Starting in 1950, when commercial enterprises threaten the few remaining historic properties in the Salem neighborhood, Old Salem incorporated and marshaled its immense economic and political resources to recreate 19th Century Salem.
Imagine if city planners had taken a page from Old Salem’s playbook and organized community land trusts in East Winston decades ago. Durham organized a community land trust in 1987. It’s a shame that the City of Winston-Salem has lavishly funded Community Development Corporations (CDCs) in recent years but failed to get even one community land trust off the ground. Community land trusts have the potential to restore community sovereignty, as they discourage absentee landowning and promote homeownership. Community land trusts build wealth. CDCs are good sources of revenue for the well-connected few who manage CDCs.
The City of Winston-Salem’s Finance Committee, 4 pm: watch live or archivedFinance14Dec2020
The City of Winston-Salem, Public Safety Committee, 6 pm: watch live or archivedPublicSafety14Dec2020
TuesdayWSFCS Agenda 14Dec2020
Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee, 4:30 pm. Watch live or archivedGovCommittee15Dec2020
Public Works Committee, 6:00 pm. Watch live or archivedPublicWorks15Dec2020