Affordable Housing Is Key Election Issue in the Primaries

NLIHC’s nonpartisan voter and candidate engagement project Our Homes, Our Votes: 2020 and our more than 1,000 partners around the country have worked to raise the profile of affordable housing and homelessness in the presidential elections. The effort has paid off!  All but one of the candidates (former Vice President Joe Biden) have released robust affordable housing proposals, and media outlets are spotlighting housing as an election issue as never before. Just a few recent examples from the media:

  • “We asked presidential candidates: What would you do about California's housing crisis?” (The Desert Sun)
  • “How would Democratic debate candidates fix the housing and homelessness crises?” (LA Times)
  • “What Do Housing Groups Think About Dems’ Affordable Housing Plans?” (Shelterforce)
  • “Where They Stand: Comparing The 2020 Democrats' Affordable Housing Plans” (New Hampshire Public Radio)

Voting in 2020 presidential primaries is underway, and housing is a top electoral issue. Fox News and CNN separately hosted a series of nationally televised town halls with eight candidates in advance of New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday, February 11. Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg and Senators Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren all talked about affordable housing during last week’s town halls. Here’s a sampling of what they said:


  • Senator Klobuchar: “Yes, urban areas are having a big problem with affordable housing because of the rents and the costs, but there are also a lot of mid-size towns and small towns in rural areas with huge housing problems.” She described her plan to: increase rental assistance, expand deeply affordable supply, and help people afford housing.  (To see the video clip, go to and scroll down to “Videos.”)


  • Senator Warren: “We have a terrible housing problem in this country. We have a shrinking housing supply and a growing population, among middle-class families, working-class families, the working poor, the poor poor, the homeless, formally incarcerated people, seniors who want to age in place, and also people with disabilities.” (To see the video clip, go to and scroll down to “Videos.”)


  • Senator Sanders: “In the richest country in the history of the world – it is not all that hard to say that all of our people can have a decent standard of living. Yes, if you work 40 hours a week, you can make at least 15 bucks an hour. Yes, your kids, regardless of your income, can go to college. Yes, of course, health care is a human right. Yes, of course, you don't have to spend half of your income for housing because we're going to build affordable housing. This is not utopian stuff. This is stuff we can do.” (Video clip not yet available.)


  • Mr. Steyer: “We have too few affordable housing units in the United States of America. It's not hard to figure out why prices go up. This is like – there’s too little supply and too much demand. We need more affordable housing units, to the tune of millions.” (Video clip not yet available.)


  • Senator Buttigieg: “I am proposing that we invest $430 billion dollars in making sure more affordable housing are being built and making sure families can better access things like tax credits and vouchers to support their ability to have a home. We have to tackle this. We have the resources to do it if we have the will and shame on us if we allow homelessness to be a problem that accelerates in our time.” (To see the video clip, go to and scroll down to “Videos”)

More information about all 2020 presidential candidates’ housing plans—as well as videos and news articles—can be found at the Our Homes, Our Votes: 2020 candidate profiles