Partners for Dignity & Rights

Land and Housing


Partners for Dignity & Rights collaborates with community organizations and advocates for the right to participatory development that seeks affordable, secure and quality housing, jobs with dignity, healthy and sustainable communities. We work to advance models that ensure community control over the use of land and other natural resources and are not reliant on private profits.

Racially motivated zoning, block busing, restrictive covenants, redlining, and discriminatory mortgage insurance practices enabled separate and unequal development in the 20th century. In its wake are, for the most part, neo-colonial and neo-liberal policies that continue the exploitation of Black communities and those of color. Property value fetishism, speculative capital and racialized lending exacerbate the inequities.  

Human rights-based development requires that we own, develop, and use land in such a way that it protects our fundamental human needs and rights.

Partners for Dignity & Rights partnered with the Baltimore Housing Roundtable coalition and its anchor, the United Workers, to advance a proactive human rights-based development vision and policy framework that advanced development without displacement. Centering policy on the community control of land using non-speculative housing models such as Community Land Trusts (CLTs), the Roundtable, in six years, was able to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, fill it with tax revenue by targeting high-end developers, and establish CLTs as a trust fund priority. 

Community-centered development must address the lack of affordable housing for those with the least. Extremely low-income (ELT) households are disproportionately those of color and most vulnerable to displacement and homelessness. In 2019, we co-hosted an  Affordable for Whom” conference to build movement towards community controlled extremely low-income housing. We followed this with a toolkit on CLTs that were reaching this ELI level.

In 2022, we released Community Centered Policies to Scale Equitable Development, inspired by our work in Baltimore, which envisions three strategies to wrest control of development policy away from the real estate industry: 1) establish community-owned housing, such as community land trusts, to fight property value fetishism 2) tax speculative capital and use that revenue to support housing trust funds with community governance, and 3) develop a public bank to support a social value lending system that can end for-profit racism.

For more information, check out:

Our Work
A New Social Contract
Dignity in Schools
Health Care
Public Budgeting
Land and Housing
Low Wage Workers

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