Renters and housing justice groups in more 48 U.S. cities took to the streets Sept. 22 for the National Renters Day of Action--the largest mobilization of renters in recent history.

The day was planned to bring attention to the growing affordable housing crisis. Homes for All, the national campaign of housing and land justice organizations coordinating the effort, called for a freeze on all unjust evictions and the adoption of a livable rent standard to ensure no family pays more than 30% of income on rent.

Research by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies has found that half of all renters spend over 30 percent of their income on rent, and 1 in 4—about 11.2 million families—spends over 50 percent. Even low-income housing has become unaffordable to many low-income families, with prices increasing faster than wages and government assistance withering.

“The majority of our money goes to paying the rent—70 percent goes to the rent,” says Lynn Jones, a former homeowner from New Orleans who lost her home in Hurricane Katrina and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Jones claims that rents in the Nashville area have risen dramatically in the last four years, and data from the site Rent Jungle, showing that the average two-bedroom apartment has gone from $920 a month in 2012 to $1,572 today, bear that out.

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