Since its founding in 1981, the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS) has been working to help local individuals and families achieve financial and housing security while simultaneously working to eliminate the root causes of economic injustice.
At Revolutionary Clinics, the housing crisis is important to us — especially due to the strong connection between cannabis and eviction from public housing. That’s why we are excited to come together with other collaborators, including Ayr Wellness and Liberty Cannabis, to support CAAS’s latest community initiative: bringing “Evicted,” an interactive exhibit, to the Armory in Somerville. This incredible project is based on Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer prize-winning book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City that uses new data developed by the Princeton Eviction Lab to examine the reasons for and fallout from the millions of American evictions each year.
Why CAAS Brought “Evicted” to Somerville
When David Gibbs, Executive Director of CAAS, first heard about “Evicted,” he wasn’t sure if it was the right fit for the organization. After all, art installations aren’t typically part of what they do. It wasn’t long, though, before board member Kate Byrne convinced him and the rest of the board that the exhibit was actually perfect for CAAS.
As Gibbs explains, “What this exhibit does is highlight and describe the eviction crisis on a national level, which allows us a forum to discuss it at the local level, and to talk about local solutions. It showcases this big, wide, national broad problem and then we’re able to drill it right down to what’s going on here in Somerville.”
But that wasn’t the only draw. “This exhibit is also something that we knew would be of great interest to people outside the borders of the city,” Gibbs explains. “This is one of only two times that this exhibit will be shown in New England. So it’s an opportunity for people all over the region to come see and learn from the exhibit.” Through this exhibit, CAAS hopes to open people’s eyes to the struggles of housing in their own communities, igniting meaningful conversations and driving action.
The Importance of “Evicted”
The importance of the “Evicted” exhibit, which runs through November 4th, cannot be overstated. At the most basic level, stable housing is one of the biggest predictors of success on practically every metric. However, every year over 2.3 million Americans, most of them low-income renters, face eviction. Forcible removal has become commonplace, threatening every aspect of life from school and jobs to health and personal relationships — not to mention, eviction perpetuates economic inequality.
“I think the biggest obstacle to solving the housing crisis is not lack of money or bad policies,” Gibbs reveals. “It’s a failure of imagination. We’ve gotten so used to this idea that housing is a commodity that’s bought and sold. If you have money, you can have housing, if you don’t have money, you can’t have housing — or at least not as good housing as somebody else. The idea of housing as a human right, the idea of housing as something that by virtue of being a living human being you deserve, is just not part of the conversation. And that is a failure of imagination.”
The “Evicted” exhibit presents an opportunity to break out of that complacent mindset and spark the imagination that drives meaningful change.
How is Rev Clinics Supporting “Evicted”?
The “Evicted” exhibit — and the larger problems of housing insecurity and eviction — are particularly personal to us at Rev Clinics. Far too often, individuals are evicted from their homes due to cannabis convictions and the resulting CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) report. Raising awareness of this relationship and taking steps to address it, particularly at a time when cannabis has been legalized in many states, including Massachusetts, is a top priority at Rev Clinics.
That’s why we are eager to support CAAS’ efforts to bring “Evicted” to Somerville. In addition to hosting an event at the Evicted exhibit later in the fall, we are supporting the exhibit by creating a new “Evicted” edible all of whose net profits will go to CAAS. The Citral Orange Evicted Chocolate Bites, by our own Rev brand i am edible, are salted orange dark chocolate bites infused with full-spectrum Citral Glue Live Resin for potent strain-specific effects. With every edible you purchase and enjoy, you’ll be supporting housing stability in Somerville.