With the introduction of his new “Housing for All” plan, Senator Bernie Sanders joins several other Democratic presidential candidates in proposing bold plans to address the affordable housing crisis. Senator Sanders’s plan would build millions more affordable homes, reinvest in our public housing stock, fully fund and expand tenant-based Section 8 rental assistance programs, work to combat gentrification and exclusionary zoning, increase funding for the national Housing Trust Fund, increase funding to end homelessness, strengthen and expand the Fair Housing Act, implement national rent control standards, and much more. Senator Sanders first introduced legislation to create the national Housing Trust Fund in 2001 and was instrumental to the program being created in 2008.
Our nation’s rental housing crisis continues to worsen. Nationally, there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to the lowest-income renters. In 99% of counties in the US, a full-time minimum-wage worker cannot afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent. Voters are demanding the presidential hopefuls offer solutions, and candidates are increasingly responding by proposing ambitious housing plans to address the affordable housing crisis on the scale needed.
According to a national public opinion poll commissioned by NLIHC’s Opportunity Starts at Home multisector affordable homes campaign, support for significant federal investments in housing solutions has grown dramatically over the last several years. Today, most people in America (85%) believe ensuring everyone has a safe, decent, affordable place to live should be a “top national priority.” Eighty percent believe – on a bipartisan basis - that Congress should “take major action” to make housing more affordable for low-income people. The public overwhelmingly supports significant federal investments in programs like the national Housing Trust Fund, rental assistance through tax credits or vouchers, and emergency cash assistance to help low-income families experiencing a financial set-back avoid eviction.
NLIHC’s nonpartisan Our Homes, Our Votes 2020 project is elevating solutions to the housing crisis in the presidential campaign and tracking what all candidates have to say about housing and homelessness: www.ourhomes-ourvotes.org