The fossil fuel divestment movement has ignited a generation of organizers, dedicated to fighting for a sustainable, just, and democratic society. To build on this power, it is critical that we support young activists to stay involved with the movement for the long haul.
For many of us, the cost of student loans and rent are major hurdles to organizing post-graduation. Imagine the possibilities if thousands of young organizers across the country didn’t have to pay rent.
We are expanding the Solidarity Housing Project -- an initiative to match movement supporters willing to offer guest rooms in their homes to provide free or low-cost housing to young organizers. The Solidarity Housing project provides critical movement infrastructure to allow volunteer energy to flourish and enable young organizers to dedicate more time to building a powerful, long-term movement.
We look to inspiration from historical precedents from past movements -- including the experiences of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. As Charles M. Payne writes, “Projects like [the McComb voter registration drive] were ‘funded’ largely by willingness--the willingness of SNCC workers to work for little or nothing and by the willingness of local Blacks to provide food and shelter. The latter kind of contribution has been largely overlooked, but for the work that SNCC was doing, it was of pivotal importance.”
If you are interested in living in Solidarity Housing, please sign up here! We will work to support you in your search for housing.
FAQs for Guests
How do I find somebody to live with?
Sign up for the Solidarity Housing Program here.
Ask yourself, “Who do I know, who might know somebody, who might know somebody, who would host me in the region where I want to live?” Start brainstorming if there are already people you know and trust who could offer you housing.
E-mail email@example.com to set up a 1:1 to talk through your needs.
We will work together to support you in finding a host, tapping into networks of folks in your desired area who are willing to offer housing to DSN organizers.
How do I ask someone to live in free or low-cost housing?
Share the big vision. Ask them to imagine what it would do for the movement if thousands of young folks could live for free. Tell them that’s where we’re going, and they can be part of the beginning. Be your usual passionate and committed self, and they’ll want to support you and the vision. There is another category of people who will be willing to house you because they know and support you personally. You know who these people are, and how to talk to them.
I want to live with folks who respect and /or reflect my identities. Is that possible?
Let the Solidarity Housing Team and networks of folks you’re outreaching to know what you are and aren’t looking for. We are working to build a diverse and broad-based network of hosts, and the Solidarity Housing Team wants to make sure you’re paired with hosts that make you feel safe and at home.
How do I know if I can trust these folks?
We are developing a list of potential hosts through recommended networks of fellow organizers and friends. Our goal is to match folks with safe and comfortable living situations. That said, do what feels comfortable for you and take time to get to know your host before moving in, whether over Skype or in-person. We are also working to build a team to support folks through the process of finding hosts and adjusting to Solidarity Housing.
What about my personal space / sleeping habits / other housing preferences?
These things should be discussed with potential hosts, as they would with any housemate. Not all leads will be a good fit, and that’s okay! Our team will support you in working through living preferences with potential hosts so you can find someone you can get along with.
FAQs for Hosts
How long am I committing to host someone?
We’re grateful for your support and appreciate any length of time that you’re able to offer, whether that’s for a week, a month, a few months, or longer. Please indicate your availability here.
Will this person be paying rent?
Our goal is to give young folks the capacity to dedicate their time to building the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network and organizing for climate justice, rather than finding other full-time work to make ends meet. Whether you’re able to offer free or low-cost housing, you’re supporting the climate justice movement in an invaluable way.
What work will the person I host be doing?
In the initial phase of this project, all guests are active members of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network and will be spending the bulk of their time building this national organization and creating regional networks focused on developing the leadership of college students and recent graduates to challenge the power of the fossil fuel industry. In some cases, your guest may also be involved in local grassroots organizing work.
How are young folks matched with hosts?
We’re putting folks in touch with potential hosts, based on the location they’ve expressed interest in living and working. We’ll introduce you, but it’s your decision whether you feel comfortable being a host.
How do I know that young folks will be respectful and neat?
We encourage you to set clear expectations beforehand about chores and living arrangements, so that you’re all on the same page. If any problems do arise, please communicate them to the Solidarity Housing team at firstname.lastname@example.org.