Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, calls out Trump and the Republicans for sitting by as 20 million Americans who have lost their jobs as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, now face eviction from their apartments, foreclosure from their homes (Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made a fortune foreclosing on people in the 2008 Great Recession). The impacts of this collapse of family finances will follow for the rest of their lives, effectively canceling out the American Dream, if families can survive at all. I would submit what seems “merely”callous and indifferent to the suffering of so many is intentional. It is yet another tool in the Trump and Republicans’ campaign to suppress votes by likely Democratic voters – the more misery the better, but also, these voters can be challenged at the polls as no longer living where they were registered and unable to receive a vote-by-mail.
In contrast, Trump has elevated housing – fair housing – into another bullhorn call-out to his base. Just as he has done to sabotage Obamacare in the midst of a pandemic, he has rolled back an Obama-era rule – Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing — that required local governments provide fair housing in order to receive federal housing funds. Trump tweet-gloated, not even bothering to code his meaning about who he was appealing to and why: “I am happy to inform all the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built inyour neighborhood…Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!”
This is a statement from Vice President Biden on what a functioning federal response to such widespread homelessness should be: pass an emergency housing relief package –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Today is the first day of another month where rent and mortgage payments are due for millions of Americans who are already living on the edge. It comes a day after President Trump and Leader McConnell sent the Senate home for the weekend and allowed enhanced unemployment insurance, which millions of families have been using to pay their rent and bills, to lapse. And, the day after, we found out the last three months have been the worst period for our economy in recorded history. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses have shut their doors, with minority entrepreneurs especially hard hit. More than 30 million Americans are struggling to get by as their unemployment benefits are about to get sharply cut. Over the next two months, with no federal eviction moratorium in place, as many as 20 million families could find themselves out in the street without a safe place to live.
Because Donald Trump is abdicating his responsibility to lead us out of the pandemic crisis and the economic crisis, we now face a potential housing crisis across the country.
To prevent a catastrophic rise in evictions and homelessness, President Trump must work with Congress to act swiftly and enact a broad emergency housing support program for renters, just as we would in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Such a step would get help out quickly and at scale so that millions of people aren’t evicted or forced to choose between rent and food. Congress must also provide emergency unemployment benefits, greater access to food and nutrition programs, and full subsidies to allow families to keep their health insurance, so that the loss of one family member’s job doesn’t push the family into foreclosure and on the streets. This legislation must also include the fiscal relief necessary so state and local governments can keep on payroll the first responders, public school educators, and other public servants who ensure our cities and towns are clean, safe, and running.
Combined, these steps could put the nation in a much stronger position to handle the strain the virus is putting on millions of Americans and our entire economy. They are among many others we must take.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Vice President Joe Biden has released his plan for investing in communities through housing, “a right, not a privilege.” This is from the Biden Campaign:
Joe Biden is running for President to rebuild the middle class and ensure that this time everyone comes along. He believes the middle class isn’t a number, but a value set which includes the ability to own your own home and live in a safe community. Housing should be a right, not a privilege.
Today, however, far too many Americans lack access to affordable and quality housing. Nationwide, we have a shortage of available, affordable housing units for low-income individuals. Tens of millions of Americans spend more than 30% of their income on housing – leaving them with nowhere near enough money left over to meet other needs, from groceries to prescription drugs. And, tens of millions of Americans live in homes that endanger their health and safety.
Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the failures in our housing markets, with homeownership rates for Black and Latino individuals falling far below the rate for white individuals. Because home ownership is how many families save and build wealth, these racial disparities in home ownership contribute to the racial wealth gap. It is far past time to put an end to systemic housing discrimination and other contributors to this disparity.
As President, Joe Biden will invest $640 billion over 10 years so every American has access to housing that is affordable, stable, safe and healthy, accessible, energy efficient and resilient, and located near good schools and with a reasonable commute to their jobs. Biden will do this by:
Ending redlining and other discriminatory and unfair
practices in the housing market.
Providing financial assistance to help hard-working
Americans buy or rent safe, quality housing, including down payment assistance
through a refundable and advanceable tax credit and fully funding federal
Increasing the supply, lowering the cost, and improving the
quality of housing, including through investments in resilience, energy
efficiency, and accessibility of homes.
Pursuing a comprehensive approach to ending
While the housing challenges Americans face in different rural and urban
communities across the country may vary, every American in every zip code
should have access to housing that is:
affordable – taking up no more than 30% of income so
they have money left over to meet other needs;
stable – providing families with the
consistency they need to maintain jobs, perform well in
school, and develop social networks necessary for well-being;
safe and healthy – protecting families from
environmental and social risks from polluted air to lead contamination to gun
accessible – meeting the needs of individuals
with disabilities so they can live in their communities;
energy efficient and resilient – reducing our greenhouse
gas emissions and withstanding the impacts of climate change; and
located near good schools and with a reasonable commute
to their jobs.
END REDLINING AND OTHER DISCRIMINATORY AND UNFAIR PRACTICES IN THE
Protect homeowners and renters from abusive lenders and
landlords through a new Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights. Modeled
on the California Homeowner Bill of Rights,
Biden will enact legislation to end many shortcomings in the mortgage and
rental markets. This new Bill of Rights will prevent mortgage brokers from
leading borrowers into loans that cost more than appropriate, prevent mortgage
servicers from advancing a foreclosure when the homeowner is in the process of
receiving a loan modification, give homeowners a private right of action to
seek financial redress from mortgage lenders and servicers that violate these
protections, and give borrowers the right to a timely notification on the
status of their loan modifications and to be able to appeal modification
denials. Building on the Obama-Biden Administration’s Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure
Act, the Bill of Rights will also expand protections for renters.
For example, the Bill of Rights will include a law prohibiting
landlords from discriminating against renters receiving federal housing
Protect tenants from eviction. Housing evictions
can have devastating consequences for families and often stem from
relatively small shortfalls in
rent. As a former public defender, Biden appreciates the difference legal
representation can make for those facing eviction. As President, he will work
to enact Majority Whip James E. Clyburn and Senator Michael Bennet’s Legal Assistance to Prevent
Evictions Act of 2020, which will help tenants facing eviction
access legal assistance. He also will encourage localities to create eviction
diversion programs, including mediation, payment plans, and financial literacy
Eliminate local and state housing regulations that
perpetuate discrimination. Exclusionary zoning has for decades been
strategically used to keep people of color and low-income families out of
certain communities. As President, Biden will enact legislation requiring any
state receiving federal dollars through the Community Development Block Grants
or Surface Transportation Block Grants to develop a strategy for inclusionary
zoning, as proposed in the HOME Act of 2019 by
Majority Whip Clyburn and Senator Cory Booker. Biden will also invest $300
million in Local Housing Policy Grants to
give states and localities the technical assistance and planning support they
need to eliminate exclusionary zoning policies and other local regulations that
contribute to sprawl.
Hold financial institutions accountable for
discriminatory practices in the housing market. The Obama-Biden
Administration held major national financial institutions accountable for
discriminatory lending practices, securing hundreds of millions of dollars in
settlements to help borrowers who had been harmed by their practices. And in
2013, the Obama-Biden Administration codified a
long-standing, court-supported view that lending practices that have a
discriminatory effect can be challenged even if discrimination was not
explicit. But now the Trump Administration is seeking to gut this
disparate impact standard by significantly increasing the burden of proof for
those claiming discrimination. In the Biden Administration, this change will be
reversed to ensure financial institutions are held accountable for serving all
Strengthen and expand the Community Reinvestment Act to
ensure that our nation’s bank and non-bank financial services institutions are
serving all communities. The Community Reinvestment Act currently
regulates banks, but does little to ensure that “fintechs” and non-bank lenders
are providing responsible access to all members of the community. On top of
that gap, the Trump Administration is proposing to weaken the law by
allowing lenders to receive a passing rating even if the lenders are excluding
many neighborhoods and borrowers. Biden will expand the Community
Reinvestment Act to apply to mortgage and insurance companies, to add a
requirement for financial services institutions to provide a statement
outlining their commitment to the public interest, and, importantly, to close
loopholes that would allow these institutions to avoid lending and investing in
all of the communities they serve.
Roll back Trump Administration policies gutting fair
lending and fair housing protections for homeowners. Biden will
implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair
Housing Rule requiring communities receiving certain federal
funding to proactively examine housing patterns and identify and address
policies that have a discriminatory effect. The Trump Administration suspended this rule
in 2018. Biden will ensure effective and rigorous enforcement of the Fair
Housing Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. And, he will reinstate the
federal risk-sharing program which
has helped secure financing for thousands of
affordable rental housing units in partnership with housing finance
Restore the federal government’s power to enforce
settlements against discriminatory lenders. The Trump Administration
has stripped the Office of Fair Lending
and Equal Opportunity, a division of the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, of its power to enforce settlements against lenders found to
have discriminated against borrowers – for example by charging significantly
higher interest rates for people of color than white individuals. Biden will
return power to the division so it can protect consumers from discrimination.
Tackle racial bias that leads to homes in communities of
color being assessed by appraisers below their fair value. Housing in
communities primarily comprised of people of color is valued at tens of thousands of dollars below
majority-white communities even when all other factors are the same,
contributing to the racial wealth gap. To counteract this racial bias, Biden
will establish a national standard for housing appraisals that ensures
appraisers have adequate training and a full appreciation for neighborhoods and
do not hold implicit biases because of a lack of community understanding. An
objective national standard for appraisals will also make it harder for
financial institutions to put pressure on appraisers to their benefit.
PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO HELP HARD-WORKING
AMERICANS BUY OR RENT QUALITY HOUSING
Help families buy their first homes and build wealth by
creating a new refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000. Biden’s
new First Down Payment Tax Credit will help families offset the costs of
homebuying and help millions of families lay down roots for the first time.
Building off of a temporary tax credit expanded
as part of the Recovery Act, this tax credit will be permanent and advanceable,
meaning that homebuyers receive the tax credit when they make the purchase
instead of waiting to receive the assistance when they file taxes the following
ProvideSection 8 housing vouchers to
every eligible family so that no one has to pay more than 30% of their income
for rental housing. Roughly three in four households eligible for
Section 8 rental assistance do not receive housing assistance because the
program is underfunded. Biden’s approach is straightforward: the Section 8
rental housing assistance program should be fully funded so that everyone
eligible gets the assistance they need to pay their rent for a safe home. Biden
will devote resources to both voucher-based rental assistance and the
project-based program. Over time, this approach will provide assistance to
at least 17 million low-income
families. And, as part of the Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights, Biden will
enact a law prohibiting
landlords from discriminating against renters receiving federal housing
Create a new renter’s tax credit to help more low-income
families. Biden will work with Congress to enact a new renter’s tax credit,
designed to reduce rent and utilities to 30% of income for low-income
individuals and families who may make too much money to qualify for a Section 8
voucher but still struggle to pay their rent. He will allocate $5 billion in
federal funding for the tax credit every year.
Expand housing benefits for first-responders, public
school educators, and other public and national service workers who commit to
living in persistently impoverished communities or who work in neighborhoods
with low affordable housing stock. Biden will expand the Good Neighbor Next Door program,
which is designed to help strengthen communities that have experienced
significant underinvestment and high rates of poverty while also providing
opportunities for first responders, educators, and those engaged in national
service to purchase homes in those same communities. Specifically, Biden will
expand the program through additional down-payment assistance, partnering with
state housing agencies, tribal governments, local governments, and state/local
banks to offer the program’s existing significant discount on the price of a
home on a larger pool of homes, and providing access to a low-interest loan to
rehabilitate these homes. And, he will ensure these resources are also
available to public servants who work in neighborhoods with low affordable
Create the Public Credit Reporting Agency. Being
able to obtain a credit report is a critical step for homeownership. But today
credit reports, which are issued by just three large private companies, are
rife with problems: they often contain errors, they leave many “credit invisible” due to the
sources used to generate a credit score, and they contribute to racial disparities.
Biden will create a new public credit reporting agency within the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau to provide consumers with a government option that
seeks to minimize racial disparities, for example by ensuring the algorithms
used for credit scoring don’t have a discriminatory impact, and by accepting
non-traditional sources of data like rental history and utility bills to
Reducing Greenhouse Gases and Lowering Working
Families’ Electricity Bills
As Biden announced in his climate plan, he will set a target of reducing the
carbon footprint of the U.S. building stock 50% by 2035, creating incentives
for deep retrofits that combine appliance electrification, efficiency, and
on-site clean power generation. In addition to the $10 billion retrofitting fund
described below, other policies he will pursue to reduce the carbon footprint
of residential buildings include:
Directing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development to make housing for low-income communities more efficient.
Directing the U.S. Department of Energy to redouble
efforts to accelerate new efficiency standards for household appliances and
Repairing and accelerating the building code process, and
creating a new funding mechanism for states and cities to adopt strict
building codes and train builders and inspectors.
Read Biden’s full plan to address the climate
emergency at joebiden.com/climate.
INCREASE THE SUPPLY, LOWER THE COST, AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF
Establish a $100 billion Affordable Housing Fund to
construct and upgrade affordable housing.
$65 billion in new incentives for state housing
authorities and the Indian Housing Block Grant program to construct or
rehabilitate low-cost, efficient, resilient, and accessible housing in areas
where affordable housing is in short supply. These funds will be
directed toward communities that are suffering from an affordability crisis and
that are willing to implement new zoning laws that encourage more affordable
$10 billion to make homes more energy efficient. This
retrofitting will lower families’ energy bills, create jobs for workers in the
trades in every state in the nation, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
$5 billion to increase the stock of affordable housing as
part of larger community development efforts. Specifically, these
funds will expand the HOME program, ensuring
that the program’s requirements are more conducive to supporting first-time
homebuyers, and the Capital Magnet Fund,
which spurs private investment in affordable housing and economic development
in distressed communities. Among other uses, localities can use these funds to
purchase vacant, underdeveloped, or underutilized property and construct
Increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund by
$20 billion. Biden will increase the availability of affordable
housing through the Housing Trust Fund, paid for by an increase in the
assessment on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These additional dollars will support
the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing units.
Provide tax incentives for the construction of more affordable
housing in communities that need it most. As President, Biden will
expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit –
a tax provision designed to incentivize the construction or rehabilitation of
affordable housing for low-income tenants that has created nearly 3 million affordable
housing units since the mid-1980s – with a $10 billion investment.
This investment will be designed to make the credit more efficient,
dramatically increasing the number of new or rehabilitated affordable housing
units. And, he will ensure that urban, suburban, and rural areas all benefit
from the credit. Biden will also invest in the development and rehabilitation
of single family homes across distressed urban, suburban, and rural
neighborhoods through the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act.
Invest in community development. In addition to
the community development Biden is proposing as part of his infrastructure initiative,
he will also expand flexible funding for the Community Development Block Grant
by $10 billion over ten years. The Community Development Block Grant funds
local efforts to expand affordable housing, improve infrastructure, and
increase economic opportunities for low-income individuals and communities.
These funds are flexible federal grants that localities receive to deal with
their specific challenges and support stabilization and infrastructure.
Eliminate local and state housing regulations that limit
affordable housing options and contribute to urban sprawl. Housing
policy can be used as a tool to battle climate change. Many lower- and
middle-income Americans are forced to live far away from job centers due to
high housing costs, leading not only to workers being overburdened by long
commutes and transportation costs, but also to higher greenhouse gas emissions.
Biden will tie new federal investments in housing to a requirement that states
and localities eliminate regulations that reduce the availability of affordable
housing and contribute to sprawl. He will direct his Secretaries of Housing and
Urban Development and Transportation to identify existing federal grant
programs that can be amended by adding zoning reform as a requirement. And,
Biden will expand investments in Local Housing Policy Grants to
give states and localities the technical assistance and planning support they
need to modernize housing regulations.
Ensure minority-owned businesses benefit from investment
in housing construction and repair. To further support wealth creation
among Black and Latino families, Biden will require his Administration to take
all available steps to make sure minority-owned businesses are able to benefit
from ongoing and new federal housing and infrastructure spending.
Use federal transit dollars to leverage local
investment in transit and affordable housing
Smart transit and regional planning policies are essential for ensuring
access to affordable housing, avoiding sprawl, improving quality of life by
reducing the distance between living and leisure areas, and mitigating
climate change. To meet these goals, Biden will ensure a portion of new
federal transit dollars are designed to leverage local investment in both
transit and affordable housing in transit corridors. Biden has proposed the
following new transit investments:
Offer tens of millions of Americans new transportation
options. Outside major cities, most Americans do
not have access to high-quality, reliable public transportation; and within
urban areas, it’s often in need of repair. As a result, workers and families
rely on cars, which can be a big financial burden, clog roadways, and –
along with light-duty trucks – significantly increase U.S. greenhouse gas
emissions. As President, Biden will aim to provide all Americans in
municipalities of more than 100,000 people with quality public transportation
by 2030. To that end, he’ll increase flexible federal investments, helping
cities and towns to install light rail networks and to improve existing
transit and bus lines. He’ll also help them to invest in infrastructure for
pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of e-scooters and other micro-mobility
vehicles. And, Biden will work to make sure that new, fast-growing areas are
designed and built with public transit in mind. Specifically, he will create
a new program that gives rapidly expanding communities the resources to build
in public transit options from the start.
Reduce congestion by working with metropolitan regions
to plan smarter growth. Biden will empower city, county, regional,
and state leaders to explore new, smarter, climate-friendly strategies to
help reduce average commute times and build more vibrant main streets.
Specifically, Biden will create a competitive grant program to help leaders
rethink and redesign regional transportation systems, to get commuters where
they are going safer, faster, and more efficiently. At the same time, Biden
will boost highway funding by 10% and allocate the new funding to states that
embrace smart climate design and pollution reduction, incentivizing them to
invest in greenhouse gas reduction. States will also be free to use existing
highway funding for alternative transportation options.
Connect workers to jobs. For too many
low-income workers, the cost of transportation and time it takes them to
commute to work every day are significant barriers. As President, Biden will
dedicate an additional $10 billion over 10 years specifically for transit
projects that serve high-poverty areas with limited transportation options,
so that workers seeking a better life won’t have to spend as much getting to
Read Biden’s full infrastructure plan at joebiden.com/infrastructure.
Ensure rural communities have access to affordable and
accessible homes. The Biden Administration will increase funding for
needed repairs of affordable rental housing properties and construction of new
property through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service,
including the Multi-Family Direct Loans and
the Single Family Direct Loans programs, which
support the construction of housing for low income, disabled, or elderly
individuals in rural communities. Majority Whip Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan has already
been applied to a number of Rural Development programs in order to ensure a
portion of funds are dedicated to serving families living in areas facing
persistent poverty. As President, Biden will apply the
10-20-30 plan to all federal programs.
Expand funding for mission-driven, community-based
financial institutions that invest in building new housing in underserved
areas. As part of his plan to reinvest in communities across the
country, including in rural areas, Biden will expand funding for the Community Development Financial
Institutions Fund, which supports local, “mission-driven” financial
institutions in low-income areas around the U.S. – including those invested in
building new housing in underserved areas.
Drive additional capital into low-income communities to
spur the development of low-income housing. The New Markets Tax Credit
has drawn in $8 of private investment for every
$1 of federal investment in low-income communities by providing
tax credits to investors in community development organizations that support
everything from supermarkets to real estate projects to manufacturing
plants. Biden will expand the program
to provide $5 billion in support every year, and will make the program
permanent so communities can take the credit into account in their long-term
For all of these new housing
investments, those receiving assistance will be required to abide by
Davis-Bacon Act wage requirements so that jobs created with these investments
support family sustaining wages and benefits. And, the Biden Administration
will encourage the use of resources and materials that are sourced domestically,
as well as the use of project labor agreements.
Guarantee safe housing for our military families
The government has broken its trust with military families by providing
sub-par housing. Now, we have to work twice as hard to rebuild this trust.
That will require the utmost transparency and accountability from both the
government and the private sector partners charged with housing the families
of our service members. The Biden Administration will:
Enforce a comprehensive and standardized tenant Bill of
Rights for all military families, and as advocates have rightly demanded,
ensure U.S. Department of Defense senior leadership enforces compliance. We
won’t be making more empty promises to military families. We will hold these
landlords, and ourselves, accountable.
Require regular, standardized, objective, and published
reporting of military family satisfaction and concerns from all housing.
Establish a public-facing document outlining expectations
of quality and consequences for all housing providers and, when necessary,
terminate long-term leases held by private companies.
Read Biden’s full plan for military families at joebiden.com/militaryfamilies.
PURSUE A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO ENDING HOMELESSNESS
Develop a national strategy for making housing a right
for all. Biden believes everyone should have the right to a safe roof
over their head. On the first day of his Administration, he will direct his Secretary
of Housing and Urban Development to lead a task force of mayors and other local
elected officials to put on his desk within 100 days a roadmap for making this
right a reality nationwide. Mayors and local elected officials are on the front
lines of tackling homelessness, so Biden will use their expertise to help the
federal government identify best practices that should be replicated across the
Provide emergency funding designed to tackle the
homelessness crisis. Biden will work with Congress to secure passage
of Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ Ending Homelessness Act.
This bill funds a comprehensive, holistic strategy to ending homelessness,
including everything from case management to emergency shelters to additional
housing vouchers for homeless individuals. In total, this law will invest $13
billion to tackle homelessness over five years, including $5 billion for
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, and the law will create more than 400,000 additional
housing units for homeless individuals. In addition, Biden will ensure part of
this grant funding is specifically targeted to assist homeless children and
Reduce homelessness among veterans. The
Obama-Biden Administration cut the population of homeless
veterans by almost half. But with just over 23,000 veterans without shelter on
any given night, we have much more work to do. Biden will work with
Congress to continue to drive down veteran homelessness by permanently
authorizing the Supportive Services for Veterans Families program, which
provides critical funding for wrap-around services for those facing
homelessness. President Biden will also work to ensure that we better
understand the unique needs of women and LGBTQ veterans experiencing
homelessness. And, he will create safe, modern, clean, and recovery-oriented
housing for veterans being treated for substance use disorders and those who
are homeless by refurbishing buildings condemned or not in use, such as the
massive VA Los Angeles campus. Read Biden’s full plan to support our
veterans at joebiden.com/veterans.
Protect LGBTQ individuals. The Obama-Biden
Administration enforced the civil rights of the LGBTQ community, including by
ensuring federally funded homeless shelters provide housing according to an individual’s gender
identity and cannot refuse services based
on gender identity or sexual orientation. The Trump Administration has
since proposed allowing shelters to discriminate against transgender people
when determining their accommodations, for example by forcing transgender women
to sleep and use the bathroom in the same place as men. As President, Biden
will secure the passage of the Equality Act, ensuring
that no President can ever again single-handedly roll back civil rights
protections for LGBTQ individuals, including in housing and homeless shelters.
And, he will increase funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to
ensure LGBTQ individuals have access to transitional living programs that
provide essential services like job counseling and mental and physical health
Expand access to supportive housing and services for
individuals with disabilities and the elderly. A Biden Administration
will increase the availability of supportive and accessible housing for seniors
and individuals with disabilities, including through the Supportive Housing for
the Elderly (“Section 202”) and
Supportive Housing for Individuals with Disabilities (“Section 811”) programs.
Biden also will increase resources for mental health services and substance use
disorder treatment, including through the Projects for Assistance in
Transition from Homelessness program.
Set a national goal of ensuring 100% of formerly
incarcerated individuals have housing upon reentry. If incarcerated
individuals do not find housing upon reentry, that lack of housing can be
completely destabilizing and limit their likelihood of successfully staying out
of the criminal justice system and fulfilling their potential. Biden will work
toward a goal of ensuring 100% of formerly incarcerated individuals – at the
federal and state level – have housing upon release. He’ll start by eliminating
barriers keeping formerly incarcerated individuals from accessing public
assistance, including housing support. He’ll direct the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development to only contract with entities that are open to
housing individuals looking for a second chance. And, he’ll expand funding for transitional
housing, which has been drastically cut under
the Trump Administration.
Ensure survivors of domestic and sexual violence have
safe, affordable housing
Biden has put forward a comprehensive plan to strengthen social supports for
survivors of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking, including
helping victims secure housing, gain economic stability, and recover from the
trauma of abuse. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has identified domestic
violence as a top driver of family homelessness, and research points
to domestic violence as a key cause of homelessness for many women. And,
domestic violence survivors and their children often live in unstable housing
conditions, such as with relatives or friends in crowded and potentially
exploitative conditions or returning to abusive partners. Research demonstrates
that providing flexibility in eligibility, services, and support helps
survivors feel safer and rebuild their lives after violence.
The Biden plan will cut through the red tape that can slow down assistance
and limit options for survivors. Specifically, Biden will:
Establish a new coordinated housing initiative. Current
federal housing programs are insufficient for meeting the needs of domestic
and sexual violence survivors. Biden will bring federal agencies together to
create a comprehensive housing grant program tailored to survivors of
domestic and sexual violence. This grant program will include flexible
funding to support the practical needs of survivors; advocacy with landlords
and housing agencies to keep victims in housing; supportive services
including legal assistance, child care, and employment training; new
permanent housing vouchers; increased funding for the VAWA transitional
housing program; and home ownership opportunities.
Expand access to housing assistance. Biden
will strengthen the VAWA housing provisions, for example by making it easier for
victims to retain their federal housing subsidy when needed for safety
Protect survivors from housing discrimination. The Fair Housing Act protects
women from gender discrimination in public and private housing, including
survivors who may be unfairly evicted from housing because of domestic
violence. The Trump Administration proposed rolling
back Fair Housing protections by making it harder to prove disparate impact
claims and allowing landlords and banks to use discriminatory practices. The
Biden Administration will vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act. VAWA also
protects survivors from discrimination in subsidized housing and allows
survivors to transfer to new units if necessary for safety. But red tape
makes these provisions challenging to implement. The Biden plan will make it
easier for survivors to transfer their housing assistance and move to a new
home so that they can be safe.
Read Biden’s full plan to end violence against women at joebiden.com/VAWA.
Investing In Our Housing to Grow the Middle Class, Paid for by Making
Sure Corporations Pay Their Fair Share
Biden’s $640 billion investment in America’s housing is paid for by raising
taxes on corporations and large financial institutions. Specifically,
approximately $300 billion of the housing plan is devoted to new construction
and is encompassed in the $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan. The remaining
portion is paid for by instituting a financial fee on certain liabilities of
firms with over $50 billion in assets.
The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders released hisHousing for All” plan. This
is a summary from the Sanders campaign:
– U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled hisHousing for All plan, a bold proposal to guarantee every American – regardless of
income – a fundamental right to a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home.
“There is virtually no place in America where
a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a decent two bedroom apartment. At a
time when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, this is
unacceptable,” said Sen. Sanders. “For too long the federal government has
ignored the extraordinary housing crisis in our country. That will end when I
am president. My administration will be looking out for working families and
tenants, not the billionaires who control Wall Street.”
In America today, there is a shortage of 7.4
million affordable homes for the lowest-income renters and more than 18 million
families in America are paying more than half of their limited incomes on
housing and utilities. The federal government should be expanding housing programs,
but Donald Trump wants to cut them by $9.6 billion, or 18 percent.
for All plan would instead end the housing crisis, build millions of
affordable housing units, implement a national rent control standard,
revitalize public housing, protect tenants, combat gentrification, end
predatory lending and modern day redlining, and end homelessness by:
nearly 10 million homes through the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund,
social housing, Community Land Trusts, and other housing programs.
funding tenant-based Section 8 rental assistance at $410 billion over the next
ten years and making it a mandatory funding program for all eligible
a national cap on annual rent increases at no more than 3 percent or 1.5 times
the Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher, to help prevent the exploitation
of tenants at the hands of private landlords.
exclusionary and restrictive zoning ordinances and replacing them with zoning
that encourages racial, economic, and disability integration that makes housing
McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants to more than $26 billion over the
next five years to build permanent supportive housing.
the mass sale of mortgages to Wall Street vulture funds and thoroughly
investigating and regulate the practices of large rental housing investors and
legislation to prevent abusive “contract for deed” transactions and using
existing authority to protect communities of color, which for too long have
been exploited by this practice.
Sanders’ proposal will be fully paid for by
establishing a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent. It will cost
$2.5 trillion over the next decade.
The details of the Sanders housing plan can be read here.
The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Amy Klobuchar has
released her “Housing First” plan. This is from the Klobuchar campaign:
LOS ANGELES, CA – Ahead of a housing event
with Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, State Senator Susan Rubio and National Low
Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel, Senator Amy Klobuchar
released her Housing First plan.
As President, Senator Klobuchar will invest over $1 trillion in housing
and poverty reduction. Right now, millions of Americans struggle to pay their
rent, put food on the table for their children, or find a good paying job.
Senator Klobuchar believes there is more we can do as a country to combat
poverty and ensure economic justice for all Americans, and it begins with
making sure every American has access to a safe, affordable place to call
Research shows that a stable home can mean a better education, greater
financial stability and a healthier life. Senator Klobuchar will overhaul our
country’s housing policy so all Americans can have the opportunity to succeed.
As part of her housing and poverty plan, Senator Klobuchar will completely
eliminate the Section 8 backlog and provide rental assistance to all Americans
who qualify, limit average wait times for Section 8 housing assistance to three
months, and provide temporary housing for those at risk of homelessness. And to
eliminate unmet housing needs, she will invest significantly in expanding the
affordable housing supply and connecting people to affordable housing.
In addition, Senator Klobuchar has bold plans to expand the Earned
Income Tax Credit (EITC), as well as invest in nutrition and child care. These
policies are designed to cut child poverty in half in 10 years and eliminate it
within a generation and are based on a report from the National Academy of
Guarantee Access to Affordable Housing
Provide Section 8 Rental Assistance to All Qualifying
Americans. Today too many Americans have trouble accessing rental
assistance. An estimated 4.4 million families are currently on waiting lists
for Public Housing or Section 8 housing vouchers and many more can’t even get
on the waiting lists because they are closed. As President, Senator Klobuchar
will completely eliminate the Section 8 backlog and make sure that every
American who qualifies for Section 8 rental assistance receives a voucher or
Limit average wait times for Section 8 housing assistance
to three months. Today wait times for Section 8 housing assistance are
often 2-3 years and can be much longer and it can take up to 2-3 months for the
local housing authority to review applications, confirm eligibility, and place
Americans on a waiting list. As President, Senator Klobuchar will limit average
wait times for Section 8 assistance to no more than three months.
Provide temporary housing for those at risk of
homelessness while they are on Section 8 waitlists. To ensure that no
one is forced to be homeless while waiting for Section 8 housing, Senator
Klobuchar will create a new grant program for states to provide temporary
support for those at risk of homelessness while on the Section 8 waitlist.
Make sure that Section 8 vouchers reflect rental
prices. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Department of Housing and
Urban Development to make sure it accurately collects market data about the
cost of rental housing and provides flexibility to local housing agencies to
adjust voucher amounts in higher-cost areas.
Guarantee that all qualifying families with children
receive Section 8 rental assistance. The policy of eliminating all
unmet need for housing assistance in America will more than meet the
recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences report to make Housing
Choice Vouchers available to all qualifying families with children, as part of
putting our country on track to cut child poverty in half in the next decade
and end it within a generation.
Invest in Affordable Housing Infrastructure. To
eliminate the unmet need for rental assistance, we must increase affordable
housing supply. Senator Klobuchar will push to expand current Low-Income
Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocations to support the construction of
additional units and work with states to strengthen rules to encourage a
significant portion of LIHTC construction in high opportunity neighborhoods.
Her infrastructure package will also address the estimated $50 billion in
capital repairs needed to public housing.
Invest in the Housing Trust Fund. Senator
Klobuchar will expand funding to build, rehabilitate, and operate homes for
low-income families, including in rural areas and in Indian country by funding
the Housing Trust Fund at a minimum of $40 billion per year.
Increase the Capital Magnet Fund. The Capital
Magnet Fund provides grants to finance affordable housing and related economic
development activities and community service facilities. Senator Klobuchar will
increase funding for the program, which enables awardees to create financing
tools such as loan loss reserves, revolving loan funds, risk-sharing loans, and
Lift the bond volume cap for housing. Bonds can
be an effective way to finance the construction of affordable single-family and
small multifamily housing. As President, Senator Klobuchar will lift the volume
cap specifically for housing projects to help provide additional funding to
tackle the shortage of affordable housing in our country.
Promote effective zoning rules. Outdated zoning
rules can make it harder to build affordable housing in many areas. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will prioritize areas that have updated their
zoning rules when awarding federal housing and infrastructure grants.
Connect People to Available Housing Opportunities. Senator
Klobuchar will work to create a new federal grant program that helps states
increase outreach to low-income renters to make them aware of the resources
available to them. The funding will be available for caseworkers, community
development centers, and partnerships with nonprofits.
Reduce fees and red tape for low-income renters. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will push to increase operating funding for public
housing authorities and in return will require them to lower fees charged to
applicants and tenants. She will work to streamline the application process
including background checks and credit checks to reduce red tape.
Connect students to affordable housing. A recent
study from the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice found that over
60 percent of student respondents were food or housing insecure, and for many
students room and board accounts for more than half their total costs according
to HUD. Senator Klobuchar will double the maximum Pell Grant — which can be
used for housing and certain other non-tuition expenses — to $12,000 per year
and expand eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year. She will
work with states to establish microgrant programs to help students cover rent
or other necessary expenses if they face unexpected financial hardship. Senator
Klobuchar will also expand resources for student renters, increase student
access to existing affordable housing programs and promote the development of
affordable housing around college campuses. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
policies to support students here.
Increase auto enrollment in support programs. A
lack of clear information about eligibility and cumbersome enrollment
procedures prevent many Americans from using support programs for which they
are eligible. Senator Klobuchar will work with states and across federal
agencies to increase auto enrollment across all eligible support programs, like
Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, LIHEAP, and housing assistance, when a person enrolls in
any one program.
Give renters access to emergency funds for rent. The
path toward eviction can start with an unexpected emergency expense. As she has
previously announced, Senator Klobuchar will work to create innovative,
portable personal savings accounts called UP Accounts that can be used for
retirement and emergencies — including non-routine expenses like rent payments
in situations like a lapse in earnings, a car accident, or family leave. Under
her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked, helping a
worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a career.
Combat Segregation and Discrimination. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will ban all landlords from discriminating against
people based on the source of their income, including housing vouchers or
disability benefits. She will also protect renters by preventing the
blacklisting of people who have been to court over eviction and prohibiting
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran
status. She will suspend the Trump Administration’s proposals to weaken fair
housing rules including the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule and
restore enforcement and oversight powers to the Office of Fair Lending and
Opportunity to monitor fair lending practices and coordinate with the
Department of Justice to prevent lending discrimination before it happens.
Ban the box. Finding affordable housing can be a
major obstacle to people returning to the community after they have been
released from incarceration. As President, Senator Klobuchar will prohibit
landlords from asking rental applicants about past criminal convictions.
Background checks will only be permitted after making a conditional offer of
Partner with states and localities to strengthen tenant
protections. Senator Klobuchar will create an incentive program for
states and localities that encourage the adoption of just cause eviction
protections and a tenant bill of rights, including prior notification before
evictions. States and localities that put these protections in place —
including limits on security deposits to one month’s rent — can receive additional
federal funds for affordable housing supply.
Help Seniors and People with Disabilities Who Want to
Stay in Their Homes. Senator Klobuchar will update regulations for
reverse mortgages to make sure seniors have access to safe products that make
it easier to stay in their homes, as well as expand support for affordable
senior housing programs that assist people with disabilities. As part of her
seniors plan, Senator Klobuchar is proposing a tax credit of up to $6,000 a
year to provide financial relief to those caring for an aging relative or a
relative with a disability to help offset expenses, including necessary home
modifications to allow people to stay in their homes. And in the first 100 days
of her Administration, Senator Klobuchar will reverse the Trump
Administration’s proposed changes to federal housing subsidies that could
triple rent for some households and would be particularly harmful for seniors.
Senator Klobuchar is also committed to expanding transportation programs and
services for older adults and people with disabilities, particularly in rural
and underserved populations. She also supports expanding resources for Meals on
Wheels, transit options for seniors and programs like LIHEAP and the
Weatherization Assistance Program that helps households in need reduce energy
spending. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
plan to support seniors here.
Increase Access to Homeownership. Homeownership
is out of reach for too many Americans. As President, Senator Klobuchar will
build on programs that allow certain types of rental housing assistance to be
used for home ownership expenses and work to pass legislation that expands
access to capital for down payments and makes it easier to build a credit
history by allowing credit bureaus to use on-time payment data from cell phone
bills, utilities, and rent in calculating credit scores. She will strengthen the
Community Reinvestment Act, develop policies to encourage financial
institutions to make loans and investment in local communities, especially
communities in need, and conduct greater outreach to assess the true credit
needs of certain areas. She will also strengthen federal homebuyer education
programs including targeted programs for communities with low levels of
homeownership. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
plans to increase access to homeownership here.
Revitalize Neglected Neighborhoods and Invest in Energy
Efficiency. In some neighborhoods, neglected properties make
investments to improve living conditions or build property value economically
infeasible. Neighboring blighted and abandoned properties further reduce the
possibility of investment, leading to a downward spiral. Senator Klobuchar will
advocate for a new federal tax credit, similar to the Low-Income Housing Tax
Credit, to encourage investment in family-owned homes in distressed
neighborhoods. In addition, Senator Klobuchar will launch a major initiative to
retrofit existing homes to reduce their emissions and address environmental
hazards through grants and tax credits that support insulation, weatherization
improvements, upgrades to heating and cooling systems, and replacement of lead
pipes and other health hazards.
Reduce Homelessness. Over half a million
Americans experience homelessness every night. Senator Klobuchar will make a
major investment in homeless assistance grants that provide emergency and
long-term housing and build on her work in the Senate increasing access to case
management services like counseling and job training. This also means addressing
the unique challenges of specific homeless populations including those living
in rural areas, domestic violence victims, and the formerly incarcerated.
Increase Affordable Rental Housing in Rural Communities
and Improve Access to Information about Rural Housing Programs. 54
million Americans live in rural areas with a severe need for more affordable
rental housing. Senator Klobuchar will strengthen rural rental assistance
programs and significantly increase investments in the rural housing supply. She
will also improve training for state, local and federal agencies so communities
and developers can better access housing opportunities, as well as improve and
expand programs that provide technical assistance to rural nonprofits to
connect rural communities with resources to develop housing.
Increase Support for Workers
Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The
EITC has a strong record of success in encouraging work and alleviating
poverty. About 26 million Americans currently benefit from EITC, and it
prevents close to 6 million people, including 3 million children, from living
in poverty. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to strengthen the EITC
for workers in families with children by increasing the phase-in rate so the
lowest-income workers reach the maximum benefit more quickly, increasing the
maximum credit by about 30 percent and expanding eligibility for the credit so
more workers will receive assistance. These improvements will more than satisfy
the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences report to strengthen the
EITC, as part of putting our country on track to cut child poverty in half in
the next decade and end it within a generation.
Expand EITC Eligibility. Childless workers under
age 25 and over age 64 are not currently eligible for the EITC. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will work to expand eligibility by lowering the minimum age
to 18, with an exception for full time students and dependents, and increasing
the maximum age in line with already scheduled increases in the eligibility age
for Social Security.
Provide EITC Beneficiaries With the Option of Advanced
Periodic Payments. Receiving a single payment when EITC beneficiaries
file their taxes at the end of the year can make it difficult for EITC
beneficiaries to cover expenses that come up over the course of the year. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will give beneficiaries the option to receive
periodic payments of the EITC in advance to give them more regular income
throughout the year.
Raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will push for legislation to raise the federal
minimum wage to $15 an hour and eliminate the tipped minimum wage.
Expand Access to Child Care
Invest in Quality, Affordable Child Care. Senator
Klobuchar believes that early, quality child care and education is one of the
most important public investments we can make as a country. As President, she
will work to create a new federal-state partnership to make child care more
affordable by capping spending on child care at seven percent of income for
families making up to 150 percent of their state’s median income. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
child care policies here.
Improve the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
(CDCTC). Senator Klobuchar will convert the CDCTC to a
fully-refundable tax credit and concentrate its benefits on families with the
lowest incomes and with children under the age of five. These improvements will
meet the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences report to
strengthen the CDCTC, as part of putting our country on track to cut child
poverty in half in the next decade and end it within a generation.
Maintain the Increased Child Tax Credit. The
2017 tax bill doubled the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 per child to $2,000.
Although Senator Klobuchar will repeal the regressive portions of this tax
bill, she will maintain the increased Child Tax Credit.
Strengthen Affordable Nutrition Programs
Increase SNAP Benefits and Improve School Nutrition
Programs. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a
vital resource for meaningful relief for Americans when it is most needed.
While the Trump Administration tries to impose draconian cuts on the program,
Senator Klobuchar believes we must strengthen it for families in need. Senator
Klobuchar will increase the maximum SNAP allocation by 30 percent and provide
an additional $30 a month to families for each child between 12 and 17 years
old. These improvements will meet the recommendation of the National Academy of
Sciences report to strengthen SNAP, as part of putting our country on track to
cut child poverty in half in the next decade and end it within a generation.
Senator Klobuchar will also streamline the certification process for elderly
and disabled recipients who are living on fixed incomes and make it easier for
low-income college students to enroll in the program. As a member of
the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Klobuchar has been a champion for
protecting and strengthening the safety net for Americans in need. She has
supported programs like SNAP, the Emergency Food Assistance Program, and the
Commodity Supplemental Food Program and pushed for the Fresh Fruit and
Vegetable Program, which helps introduce children to a variety of fresh fruits
and vegetables. She also introduced and passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids
Act to support healthy meals for children, and the HELP Schools Act to
strengthen nutrition in school lunches. As President, Senator Klobuchar will
expand free breakfast programs, summer meal programs, and the availability of
meals and snacks to students outside of normal school hours. She will also make
it easier for schools to partner with local agricultural producers to give
students access to healthy, local food.
Strengthen the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Research has consistently shown
that participating in WIC improves nutrition and health outcomes for low-income
families. As President, Senator Klobuchar supports efforts to promote outreach,
especially harder to reach populations like students with children,
grandparents caring for children, and foster parents, simplify and streamline
WIC enrollment, including through auto enrollment when possible, and expand
benefits and eligibility.
Secure Equal Access to Justice
Provide Access to Counsel. Senator Klobuchar
will create a new federal grant program with the goal of eliminating the unmet
need when it comes to providing access to counsel in civil cases involving
basic human needs, which means providing counsel for people who are dealing
with evictions, being denied access to health care, and having wages unfairly
Ensure Federal Investments Are Reaching the Communities
Suffering the Most From Decades of Neglect. Unequal patterns of
federal investment, often the result of systemic racism and discrimination,
have led to decades of neglect in some communities. Senator Klobuchar is
committed to adopting Congressman Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan, in which 10
percent of federal resources are committed to communities where at least 20
percent of the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years
or more. She supported the original 10-20-30 formula in the American
Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and as President, she will work to ensure that
at least 10 percent of every agency’s funding for discretionary programs goes
to areas dealing with persistent poverty under the 10-20-30 formula.
To pay for her trillion dollar Housing First proposal, the
Senator will use revenue from ending the war in Afghanistan, repealing
regressive portions of the 2017 Republican tax bill, strengthening tools to crack
down on international tax havens and creating a new minimum tax on large
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a detailed plan to protect and empower renters as part of the fight to end the affordable housing crisis. This is from the Warren campaign:
A full-time, minimum-wage worker can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the nation. Gentrification is displacing communities of color, rising rents are crushing millions of families, and landlords are exploiting their power over tenants.
Elizabeth’s Housing Plan for America will invest $500 billion over the next ten years to build, preserve, and rehab more than three million housing units that will be affordable to working families. Her plan will lower rents by 10% nationwide, reform land-use rules that restrict affordable housing construction and further racial segregation, and take a critical first step towards closing the racial wealth gap.
Today, she released an additional plan to expand on those efforts to protect and empower renters. Her plan will:
Everyone in America should have a decent, affordable, and safe place to live.
But today, stagnant wages, sky-rocketing rents, and a stark shortage of affordable options
are putting the squeeze on America’s 43 million renting households.
In 2015, 38% of renters were “rent burdened” — spending
over 30% of their income in rent. In 2017, 23 million low-income renters paid more than half
of their total household income on housing. Many renters also face high energy
bills, with low-income renters paying as much as 21% of their income because of energy inefficient housing. A
full-time, minimum-wage worker can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the nation. Gentrification is displacing communities of
color, rising rents are crushing millions of families, and landlords are
exploiting their power over tenants.
But for decades, the federal government has turned a blind eye to our growing
affordable housing crisis. When the government has made investments, it’s focused largely on homeownership. From
Nixon’s moratorium on new public housing construction to
Reagan’s severe cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s
rental assistance program to today’s corporate capture of the right to shelter, Washington has
failed America’s renters. To make matters worse, every singleTrumpadministrationbudget has slashed funding for HUD’s budget.
And shamelessly, some of the same Wall Street firms that tanked the dream of
homeownership for millions of American families are now the country’s biggest landlords — profiting off the destruction they
caused. In the wake of the 2008 crisis, private equity firms like Blackstone
went on a shopping spree, snatching up apartment complexes and single-family homes that had been foreclosed. Even the
United Nations Special Rapporteurs have reported on their aggressive eviction tactics,
the discriminatory impact of their policies on communities of color, and
their lobbying efforts against legislation that would protect
renters — and accused them of contributing to the global housing crisis.
My Housing Plan for America invests $500
billion over the next ten years to build, preserve, and rehab more than three
million units that will be affordable to lower-income families. My plan will
lower rents by 10%, reform land-use rules that restrict affordable housing
construction and further racial segregation, and take a critical first step
towards closing the racial wealth gap.
Today, I’m expanding on those efforts with my plan to protect and empower
renters. It has four goals:
and uphold the rights of tenants
the growing cost of rent
in safe, healthy, and green public housing
exploitation by corporate landlords
Protect and uphold the rights of tenants
We’ll start by strengthening the rights of tenants. Over 805,000 renter households were threatened with
eviction in 2017. When landlords evict tenants, families lose their homes,
parents may lose their jobs, kids suffer in schools, and whole communities,
especially communities of color, can be displaced by gentrification and
skyrocketing rents. In many communities, landlords dramatically hike rents after evicting tenants, driving housing
costs up for everyone.
Tenants that organize to take on bad landlords are up against a massive power
imbalance. I’ll fight to put power back where it belongs: with tenants, not big
Landlords shouldn’t be able to arbitrarily push families out of their
communities to make an extra buck or because of thinly-veiled racism and
discrimination. I’ll work to secure tenants’ rights nationwide
— including by creating a federal just cause eviction standard, a right to
lease renewal, protections against constructive eviction, and tenants’ right to
organize. To enforce these rights, I’ll condition the $500 billion in new affordable housing funding to states from
my housing plan on states affirmatively adopting these key tenant protections.
Judges in eviction proceedings would also be required to consider how an
eviction might harm a tenant’s health conditions or a child’s ability to stay
enrolled in local public schools, and to temporarily stay evictions if tenants
can’t find another home in the same neighborhood.
As President, I’ll also fight for a nationwide right-to-counsel for
In 2010, 90% of tenants in eviction proceedings weren’t
represented by lawyers, but 90% of landlords were. That legal help matters. Legal
representation can significantly increase success in for tenants in their cases,
keep eviction filings off their records, and prevent them from having to enter
homeless shelters. That’s why I’ll fight to create a national housing
right-to-counsel fund which would provide grants to cities to guarantee
access to counsel for low- and middle-income tenants who are facing eviction or
taking their landlord to court for violations like breaching their lease, shutting
off their heat and water, or violating the housing code. And I’ll fight
to create a new tenants’ cause of action that allows tenants to sue landlords
who threaten or begin an illegal eviction.
I’ll also push to create a new Tenant Protection Bureau within the
Department of Housing and Urban Development — modeled after the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — to enforce tenants’ rights, take on bad
actors, and make sure landlords keep affordable housing affordable for working
families. Before the financial crash, I came up with the idea for a
consumer financial protection agency— a new federal agency dedicated to
protecting American consumers. I fought for that agency, helped build it from
scratch, and now the CFPB has returned nearly $12 billion directly to consumers scammed by
Tenants deserve a cop on the beat too. My new Tenant Protection Bureau, housed
within HUD, would enforce these federal tenant protections, like just-cause
eviction, for tenants in all federally-funded affordable housing developments,
ensure safe and decent living conditions, and guarantee that landlords don’t illegally
raise rents or fees in federally-subsidized housing. The Tenant Protection
Bureau will also empower community organizers with grants to state and local
groups who will sue for violations of tenant protections.
Tenants face similar dynamics to borrowers facing unscrupulous banks or
servicers. I’ll create a tenant hotline modeled after the CFPB consumer
complaint database that will route complaints from tenants to their
landlords through HUD, which could review the data for enforcement opportunities
and share the data with local officials and organizations to help them enforce
I’ll strengthen fair housing law and enforcement, giving HUD the tools to
take on modern-day redlining. A 2017 study in Virginia found that
Black tenants were more likely to be evicted, even accounting for
different income levels. Research has also shown that low-income women in Black
and Latinx neighborhoods face a heightened risk of eviction. Fifty years after the
passage of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), housing segregation endures, gentrification is pushing communities of color out of
the neighborhoods they built, people with disabilities face pervasive
discrimination, and nearly a quarter of transgender people report
experiencing housing discrimination.
We need to renew our fight against housing discrimination, and I’ll start on
day one. I’ll restore the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which
the Trump Administration put on ice. The AFFH rule would
fulfill the FHA’s promise to end housing segregation by requiring local
governments to identify housing policies and practices with racist effects and
undo them. I’ll also roll back the Trump administration’s effort to add work requirements to housing assistance. And I’ll withdraw
Trump’s racist proposed “mixed status” rule which, according to HUD’s own analysis,
would effectively evict tens of thousands of families and 55,000 children based on the immigration status
of household family members.
But reversing the Trump Administration’s attacks on civil rights isn’t enough.
The FHA protects against discrimination based on race, color, national origin,
religion, sex, familial status, and disability. To start, I’ll make sure that
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, which has been gutted and undercut by the Trump administration, is fully
funded, staffed, and equipped to robustly enforce the FHA — which is
particularly critical for renters with disabilities who make up the majority of discrimination complaints.
My affordable housing bill would prohibit housing discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status,
and source of income, like a housing voucher. Under a Warren Administration,
HUD will issue regulations to the greatest extent it can under the Fair Housing
Act to end housing discrimination against domestic violence survivors, LGBTQ+
people, and based on tenants’ immigration status or criminal records. I’ll
fight for the Equality Act, which would explicitly ban anti-LGBTQ+
discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, and public accommodations.
I’ll also direct HUD to take on chronic nuisance ordinances — local laws
that push domestic violence survivors, especially Black women, and people with disabilities, out of their homes.
And I support immigration reform that’s consistent with our values, including a
pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — which would make them
eligible for public housing benefits.
I’ll also create a national small dollar grant program to help make sure
families aren’t evicted because of financial emergencies. I spent my
career studying why families go broke — so I know that it’s all too easy for a
family to fall behind on rent after a surprise trip to the emergency room or
car repair. Massachusetts pioneered several programs that provide small grants
to help families facing a one-time budget crunch, like the Homestart program, which provides grants of on
average $700 and some wraparound services to help families avoid
eviction. It’s been reported that 95% of their eviction prevention program recipients remain in
their homes four years later. I’ll fight to scale this program up nationwide,
likely saving federal, state, and local governments money by helping families
stay out of emergency homeless shelters.
While nobody should be homeless in America, we need to stop treating our
neighbors who are experiencing homelessness as criminals. All across the
country, cities and states make it illegal to live on the street, even when
there are fewer emergency shelter beds than people who need them — 34% of cities have city-wide bans on camping in public, 43% of cities prohibit sleeping in vehicles, and 9% of cities even prohibit sharing food with homeless people.
Even as the affordable housing crisis deepens, pushing more people out of
affordable housing, these laws are spreading — just this month the Las Vegas City Council voted to
criminalize camping on downtown streets. Enough is enough — it’s time to stop
criminalizing poverty. My Department of Justice will not fund efforts to
criminalize homelessness and will deny grant money to police departments who
are arresting residents for living outside.
I’ve also already committed to preventing and combating the epidemic of
LGBTQ+ youth, transgender, and veterans homelessness. My LGBTQ+ rights plan commits to reauthorizing and fully
funding the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and to creating a LGBTQ+ youth
homelessness prevention program within the U.S. Interagency Council on
Homelessness. And I will restore and strengthen the HUD Equal Access Rule, reversing Ben Carson’s horrific proposal to
allow shelters to discriminate against transgender women – so if a trans women
of color loses her home, she doesn’t face widespread discrimination from
homeless shelters. My plan to support our veterans calls to fully fund rapid re-housing and
permanent supporting housing through the Supportive Services for Veteran
Families (SSVF) and HUD-VASH programs and to create a new competitive grant
program to provide wrap-around services for veterans and their families. As we
fight to end homelessness and expand affordable housing, we won’t leave any
Tackling the growing cost of rent.
My Housing Plan for America tackles the
growing cost of rent at its root: a severe lack of affordable housing supply
and state and local land-use rules that needlessly drive up housing costs. My
plan would add more than 3 million new affordable housing units,
and I’ll commit to prioritizing a portion of these units to particularly
vulnerable groups like the chronically homeless, people living with HIV, people
with disabilities, seniors who want to age in place, and people who have been
incarcerated and are returning to the community. My plan will bring
down the rents by 10% nationwide and make targeted investments in
rural housing programs and in a new Middle-Class Housing Emergency Fund to
support the construction of new housing for middle-class renters in communities
with severe housing supply shortages. My plan also invests $2.5 billion in the
Indian Housing Block Grant and the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant to build
or rehabilitate 200,000 homes on tribal land.
We’ll also incentivize the elimination of costly zoning rules — like minimum
lot sizes or parking requirements — with a $10 billion new competitive grant
program that state and local government can use to build infrastructure, parks,
roads, or schools on the condition that they reform land-use rules to allow for
the construction of additional well-located affordable housing units and to
protect tenants from rent spikes and eviction. And in doing all of this, my
plan would create 1.5 million new jobs.
But we must do more. More than 30 states have laws on the books that explicitly
prohibit cities from adopting rent control — and when tenants and
communities fight to repeal those laws, they’re met with fierce opposition from
real estate and private equity giants that have shelled out massive amounts of money to block them.
States shouldn’t be able to suppress local innovation or stop towns and cities
from adopting the housing policies that best protect their residents. That’s
why my administration will work to stop states from preempting local tenant
protection laws, including rent control. A Warren Administration will
side with people over private equity. I’ll condition the new affordable housing
money from my Housing plan that goes to states on repealing state laws that
prohibit local rent control laws and other tenant protections.
States and local governments across the country have adopted a number of
different strategies to tackle rising rent costs. This year, Oregon and California became the first states to pass
statewide rental control measures. From Maryland to Colorado, communities across the country have been
testing out the community land trust model, to try to break the link between
the cost of the land and the private, speculative market. As President,
I’ll create an Innovation Lab in HUD to study strategies that keep rents
affordable such as rent control, multi-year leases, zoning reform, and
community land trusts, and share data on what works and best practices. I’ll
also bring together a commission of federal, state, and local government
officials, public housing administrators, housing justice organizations,
homelessness advocates, and tenants’ unions to discuss affordability and
strategies to address it.
I’ll direct HUD to recognize strategies that prevent gentrification and
displacement of long time communities as ways for meeting jurisdictions’
obligations under the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. I’ll also
restore and improve the Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) rule, which the Trump
administration has tried to block. SAFMR sets the housing voucher
amounts at the zip code level rather than the metro level and promotes
integration by allowing vouchers to cover more in neighborhoods with higher
rental costs. I’ll also direct HUD to ensure that the shift does not reduce the
number of total housing units available to voucher holders, invest additional
resources and technical assistance to increase understanding of this rule among
public housing authorities (PHAs) and tenants, issue additional guidance on
setting payment standards, and make the administrative plans by PHAs of the
implementation of this rule publicly available.
Invest in safe, healthy, and green public housing.
Today, about 2 million people nationwide live in 1.1 million public housing units — and too
many are living in homes with lead, rats and roaches, and black
mold that jeopardize their health. Tenants who receive HUD rental assistance
are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions or go to an
emergency room than other similarly situated renters. Children in these
households are more likely to have asthma and face an acute risk of lead poisoning.
Public housing is also failing in meeting the needs of Section 8 eligible
renters who have disabilities. About 41% of all public housing units are home to a disabled person,
but only about 3% of those units actually have accessibility features.
The federal government’s decision to scale back or not match inflation when
funding public housing has resulted in a national public housing capital repair
backlog of $70 billion, leading to inaccessible housing for people with
disabilities and substandard living conditions. Because units have
been demolished or removed due to uninhabitable conditions, the total number of
public housing units has fallen by more than 250,000 since the mid-1990s. And with a median
public housing waiting list of 9 months, and in some cases, as long as 8 years, we can’t afford to lose a single unit.
As climate change makes summer heat waves and winter cold snaps more severe and
disasters more frequent, the number of habitable units could fall even further,
and public housing across the country is at risk. Last winter, nearly 90% of New York City Housing Authority units lost heat because
of boiler system breakdowns. Some of those same residents dealt with extreme heat in the summer, which can be particularly
dangerous to the elderly and residents with disabilities. In Charleston, South
Carolina, which is facing rising sea levels, 7 of the PHA’s properties are only a few feet above the high
tide level, and across the country, nearly half a million HUD-assisted housing units are in flood
We must invest in safe, healthy, and green homes. I’ll start by
repealing the Faircloth Amendment, which has prohibited
the use of federal funds for the construction or operation of new public
housing units with Capital or Operating Funds, effectively capping the number
of public housing units available at 1999 levels. I’ll fight to
completely close the national public housing capital repair backlog,
expand disability accessibility, and for 1:1 replacement of any units that have
to be removed or demolished. And I’ll fight for investments in new public
I’ll also update the rules of major federal housing funding programs, like
the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund,
Capital Magnet Fund, and Home Grant program, to allow PHAs or other public
institutions to use these funds to develop properties and Section 811 PRA
housing themselves and maintain public ownership. Under current rules, states
are required to contract with private developers. With this change, PHAs and
other public institutions will also be able to benefit from the massive
investment of my Housing plan. Like existing developments under these programs,
these projects would be subsidized to allow low-income tenants to live
alongside market rate tenants. And I’ll encourage PHAs to develop a
participatory budgeting process with residents on how capital dollars are
I believe that every renter has the right to a healthy home. I have
called for retrofitting 4% of our existing building stock each year in my
100% Clean Energy for America plan. I will
ensure that public housing units and public schools are prioritized for
retrofitting because more efficient homes mean lower energy bills, and the cost
of energy should not hold any family back. And I will work across federal
agencies to eliminate toxic substances like mold and lead from all
housing and drinking water sources by investing in toxic mold removal,
establishing a lead abatement grant program to remediate lead in all federal
buildings, and providing a Lead Safety Tax Credit to incentivize landlords to
invest in remediation for their tenants. I’ll fully fund CDC’s environmental
health programs like the Childhood Lead Prevention program, and fully
capitalize the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State
Revolving Fund to ensure that nobody’s drinking water is poisoned because of
crumbling infrastructure. And I will immediately roll back the amended timeline
of the EPA draft rule on lead pipe replacement, which the Trump administration
has tried to relax from 13 to 33 years.
For all new affordable rental units, I will ensure that the project
undergoes an environmental equity screen during both the siting and
construction phases so that we do not continue to subject low-income
communities to environmental racism through our housing policies. I will direct
the Department of Energy to provide technical assistance to utilities to better
support and incentivize on-bill financing to further adoption of clean energy,
no matter the income, credit, or renter status of each customer.
And as we modernize our public housing units, we will build livable communities
starting with a new Green Public Housing program that will create
millions of jobs and provide climate smart housing. Because of the massive
maintenance backlog in America’s public housing, and because the federal
government hasn’t funded new public housing construction in decades, manypublic housingbuildings aren’t equipped to withstand the
increasingly harsh realities of climate change. I am a proud supporter of the
Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which will create grant programs for
public housing authorities to conduct deep energy retrofits, prioritize
workforce development, upgrade the facilities’ energy efficiency and water
quality, allow for community renewable energy generation, and encourage
recycling, community resiliency, and climate adaptation. My 100% Clean Energy
for America plan calls for all new commercial and residential buildings to have
zero carbon pollution by 2028, and this applies to any new public housing
development as well. Nobody should have to face substandard living conditions,
and through the Green Public Housing program, we will ensure that we raise the
standard of living for all renters.
And I will make sure we’re supporting those who have been displaced by
disaster. Renters are particularly vulnerable in the wake of natural disasters. But
for too long, renters have been overlooked in government post-disaster response
and recovery. That’s why I introduced the Housing Survivors of Major Disaster Act, which will require
FEMA to work with HUD to immediately set up the Disaster Housing Assistance
Program (DHAP) for temporary rental assistance and wraparound services to
disaster survivors. This will also support those who might not have residence
documentation, to ensure renters without leasing documents and people who are
homeless have access to these critical services.
Fight the exploitation of renters by corporate landlords.
Since the mortgage crisis, large private equity firms have become some of the
country’s biggest landlords — a big win for Wall Street, but a huge
loss for America’s renters. Take Blackstone, one of the largest private equity firms in the world. Since
2016, more than 600 complaints have been filed against Blackstone
subsidiary Invitation Homes with the Better Business Bureau, and Invitation
Homes is currently facing a class action lawsuit in California for
subjecting tenants to excessive and illegal late fees.
The problems extend to other private equity landlords too. Colony Capital, the
third-largest single family landlord in the country, evicted more than 30% of tenants living in its Atlanta
rentals. In Memphis, Firstkey Homes, a property management company owned by
Cerberus Capital Management, files for eviction at twice the rate of other property managers.
We can’t keep letting these firms loot the economy to pad their own pockets
while working families suffer. My plan to Rein in Wall Street will hold private equity firms
accountable and prevent private equity funds from snatching up properties and
dramatically raising rents, allowing more people to stay in their homes..
My Excessive Lobbying Tax will make it more costly for these firms
to lobby against policies that protect renters.
But we can do more. I’ll stop federal dollars from going to predatory
landlords and lenders with a long history of harassing tenants, forcing tenants
to live in dangerous or indecent conditions, or redlining our communities. I’ve
already committed to strict new requirements for Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac, limiting the situations in which the agencies can sell
mortgages and imposing new requirements on Wall Street buyers to protect
I’ll also direct the Federal Housing Administration to deny
federal support to landlords that violate tenants’ rights. My FHA will
develop rules that prohibit federal agencies from insuring, guaranteeing, or
lending to landlords with a history of harassing tenants, violating housing
codes, unjust evictions, violating fair housing law, or engaging in
unconscionable rent increases. That means no federal support for landlords that
violate tenants’ rights — like Jared Kushner’s family firm, which is under investigation for harassing tenants out of
I’ll go further and allow all suits for violations of the Fair Housing Act
and Federal, state or local housing protections to reach to the private equity
firm and its general partners. After the housing crisis, private
equity firms gobbled up hundreds of thousands of Real Estate
Owned (REO) properties and troubled mortgages from FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
In the years since, private equity firms have expanded their portfolios in
housing and have taken a particularly aggressive position in the market
for manufactured home parks. In the midst of the financial crisis, private equity firms
exploited legal loopholes and used shell companies to ensure tenants were
unable to get justice when they’re wronged and removing all disincentive for
My housing plan would end the pipeline of foreclosed homes from Federal
agencies to private equity firms, and My Wall Street plan allowed extended
liability for actions at a private equity portfolio company to the private
equity firm and its general partners in the case of a government enforcement
I’ll rein in payday lenders who take advantage of renters. Payday
lenders cluster in low-income areas, like around government-subsidized housing, and target communities of color. I’ve called out the unscrupulous, exploitative practices
for more than a decade. As President, I’ll direct the CFPB to issue a
comprehensive package of regulations on payday lenders, including limiting the
proximity of payday lenders near public housing. I’ll call for Congress to
repeal the Dodd-Frank provision that prohibits the CFPB from capping interest
rates, empowering the CFPB to effectively regulate these bad actors.
And I’ll take on “land contracts” agreements, predatory loans that are
frequently targeted at communities of color. Land contracts are high-interest loans that are often marketed as a path to
homeownership. Tenant-buyers make payments towards a lender over a long period
of time, and the lenders that own the homes are only required to turn over
legal title to the home after the renter has completely paid it off. But homes
— often houses lost in the foreclosure crisis — can be in such bad
condition they’re basically uninhabitable, and the contracts shift the costs of
fixing them up away from banks and onto unsuspecting families.
Worse still, these contracts are built to fail: If tenants fall behind on these unregulated,
high-interest loans, predatory lenders can seize the property — and keep would-be buyers’ money
— so they make it hard for families to keep up with payments by inflating
the prices, disguising debts, and hiding unfair terms in the fine print of
their land contracts. Predatory lenders target communities of color for land
contracts, including the same families displaced by rising rents. I’ll choose a
CFPB Director committed to reigning in land contracts.
Next, I’ll require large corporate landlords to publicly disclose data. I’ll
create a national public database of information about large corporate
landlords, by requiring them to report key data to HUD. The database will
include information like corporate landlords’ median rent, the number and
percentage of tenants they evicted, building code violations, the most recent
standard lease agreement used, and the identity of any individuals with an
ownership interest of 25% or more, either directly or indirectly, in large
landlords’ corporations, LLCs, or similar legal entities. And I’ll direct HUD
to study the impact that these kinds of landlords have on local rental markets.
The vigorous contest of Democrats
seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy
proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders, along with
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, presented the Green New Deal for Public
Housing Act to address the shortage of public housing in a way that also
attacks climate change by transitioning to sustainable buildings. Here is the
plan from the Sanders campaign:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in an event outside the Capitol Building, announced the
introduction of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act in partnership with
public housing residents, affordable housing advocates, and climate change
activists. The sweeping legislation they will unveil aims to retrofit,
rehabilitate, and decarbonize the entire nation’s public housing stock.
The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act invests up to $180 billion over ten
years in sustainable retrofits that include all needed repairs, vastly improved
health, safety and comfort, and eliminate carbon emissions in our federal
public housing. The legislation also provides funding to electrify all
buildings, add solar panels, and secure renewable energy sources for all public
housing energy needs. The bill dramatically improves living conditions for
nearly 2 million people living in roughly 1 million public homes.
“Faced with the global crisis of climate change, the United States must lead
the world in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to
sustainable energy,” said Sanders. “But let us be clear: as Congresswoman
Ocasio-Cortez understands, the Green New Deal is not just about climate change.
It is an economic plan to create millions of good-paying jobs, strengthen our
infrastructure, and invest in our country’s frontline and vulnerable
communities. This bill shows that we can address our climate and affordable
housing crises by making public housing a model of efficiency, sustainability
and resiliency. Importantly, the working people who have been most impacted by
decades of disinvestment in public housing will be empowered to lead this
effort and share in the economic prosperity that it generates for our country.”
“Climate change represents both a grave threat and a tremendous opportunity,”
said Ocasio-Cortez. “The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will train and
mobilize the workforce to decarbonize the public housing stock and improve the
quality of life for all residents. I am proud to begin the hard work of
codifying the Green New Deal into law with my friend and colleague, Senator
About 40 percent of
total U.S. energy consumption is attributable to residential and commercial
buildings. With its focus on transforming 1 million units of federally owned
housing, the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will spur economies of scale
for weatherization, retrofitting, and renewable energy, making them more cost
effective and attractive throughout the country. The legislation is expected to
create nearly 250,000 good-paying, union jobs per
year across the country while reducing carbon emissions on the scale of taking
1.2 million cars off the road over the next ten years. Public housing costs
would also be reduced by $97 million per year, or 30 percent, and energy costs
would be slashed by $613 million, or 70 percent.
The legislation envisions a federal-state partnership, creating new grant
programs to swiftly and efficiently transition public housing, tribal housing,
and Native Hawaiian housing to zero-carbon, energy efficient housing. The bill
creates sustainable communities for families by building new childcare and
senior centers, expanding access to clean transit, and creating community
gardens and other community amenities. Under the legislation, public housing
will receive deep energy retrofits, build community-generated renewable
electricity, and upgrade unsafe and unsanitary infrastructure, including
buildings’ water and electrical systems.
The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act requires that the hundreds of
thousands of jobs created by this investment be high-road, family-sustaining
jobs by requiring strong labor standards, prevailing wages, and “Buy America”
requirements. Public housing residents will lead the decision-making process for
these investments and receive jobs training for the newly created jobs from
The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen.
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and endorsed by more than 50 organizations.
vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has
produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Amy
Klobuchar’s plan to address the need for affordable housing seeks to bridge the
rural-urban divide, expand housing opportunities and revitalize neglected
neighborhoods. This is a summary from the Klobuchar campaign:
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Senator Klobuchar is proposing a plan to bridge the rural-urban divide, expand affordable housing opportunities and revitalize neglected neighborhoods.
Stable and affordable housing is out of reach for too many American families. Both rural and urban areas struggle with a shortage of affordable rental housing, homelessness and neglected neighborhoods. Racial disparities and discrimination persist in housing and many families face significant obstacles to buying a home. As President, Senator Klobuchar will tackle these challenges to make a safe and affordable home a reality for more Americans.
Expanding Access to Justice and Fighting Discrimination
Provide access to counsel. Senator Klobuchar will create a
new federal grant program with the goal of eliminating the unmet need when
it comes to providing access to counsel in
civil cases involving basic human needs, which means providing counsel for
people who are dealing with evictions, being denied
access to health care and having wages unfairly taken.
Prohibit landlords from unfairly discriminating against
Klobuchar will ban all landlords from discriminating against people based
on their income, including housing vouchers or disability
benefits. She will also protect renters by preventing the blacklisting of
people who have been to court over eviction or discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation, gender identity, or veterans status.
Combat segregation in housing. Senator Klobuchar will suspend
the Trump Administration’s proposals to weaken fair housing rules. As
previously announced, in her first 100 days as President Senator Klobuchar
will suspend the Trump Administration’s attempts to weaken
efforts to combat segregation in housing by modifying the Affirmatively
Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
Reinstate the Office of Fair Lending and Opportunity’s
enforcement and oversight powers. The Trump Administration has significantly weakened the Office
of Fair Lending and Opportunity, stripping the
office of its ability to ensure fair and equitable access to credit. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will restore all enforcement and oversight
powers to the Office of Fair Lending and Opportunity to monitor
fair lending practices and coordinate with the Department of Justice to
prevent lending discrimination before it happens.
Addressing the Rural Housing Crisis
Increase affordable rental housing in rural communities. 54 million Americans live in rural
areas with a severe need for more affordable rental housing. Senator
Klobuchar will strengthen rural rental assistance programs and
significantly increase investments in the rural housing supply, which
includes expanding affordable housing programs serving Native Americans.
Improve access to information about rural housing programs. To take advantage of federal
support for new rural housing, developers must first know about the
programs available to them. Senator Klobuchar will improve training for state,
local and federal agencies so communities and developers can better access
housing opportunities. Senator Klobuchar will also improve and expand
programs that provide technical assistance to rural nonprofits to connect
rural communities with resources to develop housing.
Encourage innovative strategies to attract private investment. Senator Klobuchar will use the
loan purchasing power of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ask lenders to
create new ways to meet the mortgage credit needs for rural markets based on
evidence from their existing portfolio data. Senator Klobuchar will also
provide incentives for community financial development institutions to
provide access to credit in rural communities using the expertise of local
Increasing Access to Affordable Housing
Invest in Housing Choice Vouchers. The Housing Choice Voucher
program helps provide the stable homes families need to succeed, but
demand far exceeds the number of vouchers available. Senator Klobuchar
will make a major investment to make vouchers available to all qualifying
households with children.
Promote effective zoning rules. Outdated zoning rules can make
it harder to build affordable housing in many areas. Some cities are
beginning to update their zoning policies through initiatives like
Minneapolis 2040 to increase affordable housing opportunities. Senator
Klobuchar will prioritize areas that have updated their zoning rules when
awarding federal housing and infrastructure grants.
Give renters access to emergency funds for rent. The path toward eviction can
start with an unexpected emergency expense. As she has previously
announced, Senator Klobuchar will work to create innovative, portable
personal savings accounts called UP Accounts that can be used for retirement and
emergencies — including non-routine expenses like rent payments in
situations like a lapse in earnings, a car accident, or family leave. [This
proposal is modeled after the Saving for the Future Act, which was introduced by Senators Coons and Klobuchar.] Under
her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked,
helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a
Support housing for people with disabilities. Senator Klobuchar will
strengthen housing programs that assist people with disabilities. She will
also invest in the successful Housing Opportunities for Persons with
Promote climate change mitigation and resilience. Residential buildings are a
significant source of carbon emissions. Senator Klobuchar will ensure that
all federal housing programs implement strong standards to reduce carbon
emissions and she will invest in retrofitting so existing housing
is more energy efficient.
Providing Access to Opportunity
Encourage mobility for renters. An effective way to break the cycle of
poverty is to move to a neighborhood that provides greater opportunity. Senator Klobuchar will expand the pilot for mobility housing
vouchers that allows families to use their vouchers in higher opportunity
neighborhoods. She will expand incentives to encourage relocation and work
with regional and federal housing agencies to reduce obstacles
that can make these relocations difficult.
Increase the supply of affordable housing in high opportunity
neighborhoods. The Low-Income
Housing Tax Credit is a critical tool for developing affordable rental
housing. Senator Klobuchar
will push to expand the current allocations to support the construction of
additional units. She will also work to encourage construction in high
Reduce homelessness. Over half a million Americans
experience homelessness every night. Senator Klobuchar will make a major
investment in homeless assistance grants that provide emergency and
long-term housing and build on her work in the Senate increasing access to
case management services like counseling and job training. This also means
addressing the unique challenges of specific homeless populations
including those living in rural areas, domestic violence victims, and the
Help seniors age in place. By 2040, one in five Americans
will be over 65, but the current supply of rental housing is not equipped for
this Silver Surge. In the first 100 days of her Administration, Senator
Klobuchar will reverse the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to
federal housing subsidies that could triple rent for some households and
would be particularly harmful for seniors. In addition, she will update
regulations for reverse mortgages to make sure seniors have access to safe
products that make it easier to stay in their homes, as well as expand
support for affordable senior housing. She will direct affordable housing
programs to allow retrofitting of rental housing and encourage a share of
new rental housing to be built in a senior friendly way.
Increasing Access to Homeownership
Revitalize and build value in neglected neighborhoods. In some neighborhoods,
neglected properties make investments to improve living conditions or
build property value economically infeasible. Neighboring blighted and
abandoned properties further reduce the possibility of investment, leading to
downward spiral. Senator Klobuchar will advocate for a new federal tax
credit, similar to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, to encourage
investment in family-owned homes in distressed neighborhoods.
Promote homeownership through down payment assistance and
credit development. Saving for a downpayment and building a credit
history are two of the largest obstacles new homebuyers face. Senator
Klobuchar will build on programs that allow certain types of rental
housing assistance to be used for home ownership expenses. She will also
work to pass legislation that expands access to capital for down payments
and makes it easier to build a credit history by allowing credit bureaus
to use on-time payment data from cell phone bills, utilities, and rent in
calculating credit scores.
Protect the Community Reinvestment Act. During the first 100 days of her
presidency, Senator Klobuchar will direct financial regulators to
Reinvestment Act protections,
develop policies to encourage financial institutions to make loans and
investment in local communities, especially communities in need, and
conduct greater outreach to assess the true credit needs of certain areas.
Improve education for homebuyers. Buying a
home can be confusing, especially for first-time homebuyers. Senator
Klobuchar will strengthen federal homebuyer education programs including
targeted programs for communities with low levels of homeownership.
To pay for these policies, Senator Klobuchar will raise the capital
gains rate to the income tax rate for households making over $400,000, and as
announced in her infrastructure plan, which included plans for housing, raising
the corporate tax rate to 25%.