Economic Equity
SER Equity

Philanthropy Supports Housing Advocates to Say that Policies Impacting Arkansas Renters are Inhospitable

I feel like I’m living on borrowed time and I’m worried that nobody really understands the effect of this, the way this is going to impact millions of people [in Arkansas]. I don’t want to lose my home, but I probably will. I rent from a great landlady.

For ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) residents in Arkansas, low wages make homeownership elusive and the lack of legal protections for renters make renting precarious. Julie, like thousands of other Arkansans impacted by the pandemic, faces an impossible situation as she prepares to lose her home. The truth is, even before the pandemic, Arkansas was one of the nation’s least renter-friendly states. Even with temporary rent relief and eviction-prevention programs, our current laws can trap ALICE workers in a long-term cycle of housing uncertainty, debt, and possibly even jail.

Affordable housing remains an un-afforded necessity for too many of our neighbors and essential workers.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation joined the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation and the Arkansas Community Foundation to provide $400,000 to fund the Housing CCAN (Connective Care & Action Network). CCAN—a coalition of fair housing advocates from across the state—will build the power necessary to make Arkansas a more hospitable place, especially for our hardest working residents.

Falling Behind on Rent in Arkansas can mean Jail Time

A Two Year Plan to Jump Start Change

Over the next two years, CCAN members will provide direct assistance to ALICE families and workers facing eviction, advocate for long-term policy solutions, and build the capacity of local organizations to advocate for more equitable tenant rights.

“Our vision for housing in Arkansas is for everyone to have access to safe, affordable, and sustainable housing opportunities,” says Kara Wilkins, CCAN Coordinator. “All Arkansans should have the right to feel secure no matter their housing situation. We hope to provide the tools to build an empowered community of tenants that advocate for themselves without the presence of fear or shame.”

Right now, Arkansas’s laws leave everyday people with limited and unfair choices to be able to provide shelter for their families. And what impacts hard-working adults also impacts our kids. Without basic standards of habitability and tenant protections, a family’s livelihood and a child’s future success in school hangs in the balance.

Housing needs to be uderstood as central to everyone's wellbeing

CCAN will empower people to bring about lasting change in the form of policies that actually work for ALL people.

If you want to be a part of this movement for equity, here is what you can do: