The past year has highlighted just how much our homes matter—and just how problematic the American idea of “home” is. Within days last spring, our worlds shrunk and our houses were forced to become offices, schools, restaurants, and conference rooms. Nearly everything that you could once imagine doing somewhere else suddenly had to happen within the four walls of your home.
And even as we felt trapped and claustrophobic, for many people, home was also a sanctuary, the one place they could remove their masks and take a deep breath. People baked and gardened; practiced yoga and learned French.
But that wasn’t true for everyone. When COVID-19 first hit the U.S., it was called the great equalizer. People believed it didn’t discriminate. That soon became the great lie, as Black and brown communities, low-income workers, and multi-generational households were infected at wildly disproportionate rates. For many people, home became yet another stressor.