New York Tenants Are Organizing Against Evictions, as They Did in the Great Depression

Activists concerned about pandemic-related homelessness are seeking rent relief. In the 1930s, tenants banded together against evictions.

Anticipating a massive wave of evictions when the federal and state bans are lifted in January, housing activists in the Bronx are taking action. They’re pushing to extend the eviction ban until the pandemic is over, organizing tenants, and seeking rent relief. Housing activism in the Bronx has a deep history dating back to the Great Depression, when neighbors banded together to resist landlords’ efforts to displace them. That struggle helped highlight issues and inform policies around affordable housing that continue to this day. This video is a collaboration between Retro Report and THE CITY, and part of the reporting project Hitting Home, that examines the process and impact of evictions, providing historical context for the nation’s persistent lack of affordable, safe housing.

This video was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and the Pulitzer Center.

Related: The C.D.C. Has Been Blocking Evictions. Where Is That Power From? by Erik German

Where the City’s Marshals Get Their Power by Sandra McDaniel

For teachers
  • Director: Bonnie Bertram
  • Sr. Producer: Erik German
  • Editor: Cullen Golden
  • Associate Producer: Kirk Cohall
  • Archival Researcher: Christopher Vazquez
  • Archival Researcher: Sandra McDaniel