With the unveiling of a new website, Housing Is A Human Right turns the spotlight on the real estate industry’s predatory, greed-driven agenda that’s fueling the housing affordability crisis in California and across the nation. The site — greedystephenschwarzman.org — focuses on Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, dubbed the “King of Greed.”
“Stephen Schwarzman and Blackstone epitomize the corporate greed that’s played a central role in our devastating housing affordability crisis,” says Housing Is A Human Right Director René Christian Moya. “He and other corporate landlords only care about making more billions, regardless of the consequences to middle- and working-class residents. They don’t care about us. Based on their horrible track records, that’s a cold, hard fact.”
Schwarzman is the billionaire co-founder and CEO of Blackstone Group, one of the largest corporate landlords in the world. For years, according to United Nations housing experts, Blackstone Group has been “wreaking havoc” through excessive rents and “aggressive evictions.” It’s considered one of the worst players in the global housing affordability crisis.
“Blackstone’s and its subsidiaries’ business model is pushing low-income, and increasingly middle-income, people from their homes,” United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing Leilani Farha and UN Working Group Chairperson Surya Deva wrote in a recent letter to Schwarzman.
That’s happened during Schwarzman’s watch — a time when he’s turned into one of the richest men on the planet, with a personal fortune of $13.2 billion. In 2017, Stephen Schwarzman hauled in a staggering income of $786 million.
In 2018, faced with worsening housing affordability and homeless crises, Californians sought to repeal statewide rent control restrictions through Proposition 10. Schwarzman wouldn’t have it. Blackstone Group and its subsidiary, Invitation Homes, shelled out $7.4 million to trick and confuse voters, stopping a grassroots effort that included labor unions, social justice groups, tenants rights organizations, and prominent civic leaders.
But in California and across the country, people power is rising. Despite the money and political influence of the real estate industry, a growing housing justice movement is fighting back. By exposing Stephen Schwarzman, greedystephenschwarzman.org is part of that important effort to rein in corporate greed run amok — and to create much-needed protections for tenants, such as rent control and just cause eviction.