Unhousing the Poor: Interlocking Regimes of Racialized Policing

The paper, prepared for The Square One Project’s Roundtable on Justice Policy, is part of the Institute’s ongoing research on racial banishment, the expulsion of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities from our cities through criminalization, policing, and forced removal. With a focus on Los Angeles, the paper examines three regimes of racialized policing: the criminalization of the unhoused, nuisance abatement lawsuits (specifically the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program, or CNAP), and the forfeiture of public housing. Since this is a paper written for a project concerned with the “social contract,” it concludes with a framework of rights, including “right to remain.” But as this national moment of reckoning in the United States has made vividly clear, such a right cannot be established without dismantling the role of racialized policing in maintaining propertied order. By bringing to light the many forms of spatial illegalization that are constitutive of racial banishment, the research presented in the paper makes a contribution to the ongoing work of housing justice.

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