The Homeless Industrial Complex: A Syllabus for Fighting Back
Co-edited by #UnequalCities members Tracy Rosenthal and Annie Powers

Excerpt: This reader stems from a long history of struggle against the death-dealing housing system that prioritizes landlords’ profits over the human right to home. We use “industrial complex” to refer to the state capacities, resources, and ideologies that make up and keep us locked in that current system. Following the LA Tenants Union and Unhoused Tenants Against Carceral Housing, where we organize with our neighbors, we name unhoused people as tenants: political subjects in the struggle for housing liberation for all.
For unhoused tenants, the city, county, or non-profit service provider acts as a landlord, one who claims to offer “housing” but provides temporary shelters closer to prison than a home.
Of course, these offers are actually orders—made at gunpoint when politicians and police resolve to cleanse unhoused people from public space. As real estate gains a tighter grip on the state and as inequality grows, unhoused tenants’ experience of criminalization, forced treatment, and incarceration is a glimpse into the future for all tenants, housed or unhoused. We hope this syllabus builds solidarity between housed and unhoused tenants, and can act as a resource for organizing against the Police State and the Real Estate State—which homelessness policy makes clear are one and the same.

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