Thank you for joining our efforts to have presidential debate moderators ask candidates for their plans to address the country’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Together we have made real progress! Because of our collective efforts, we had a big breakthrough last month in Atlanta when debate moderators asked candidates for their solutions to the affordable housing shortage, the first time such a question has been asked in debate history. Unfortunately, the moderators of last week’s debate didn’t follow suit – a disappointing and frankly baffling choice, given that the debate took place in Los Angeles, the epicenter of the homelessness and housing affordability crisis.
Still, housing had a relatively good night on the debate stage. Several candidates went out of their way to highlight the importance of addressing housing and homelessness. Mayor Pete Buttigieg cited NLIHC’s Out of Reach data. Senator Amy Klobuchar referenced her morning Our Homes, Our Votes: 2020 event, where she unveiled a new plan to spend $1 trillion in new resources on addressing homelessness and housing poverty. Senator Warren discussed her housing plan and tied it both to disability rights and the unique vulnerability of trans people experiencing homelessness. And Senator Sanders shared the injustice and outrage of over 500,000 people experiencing homelessness in our country, as he has in every debate this year. Julián Castro wasn’t on the debate stage, but he tweeted about his plans to end homelessness and housing poverty throughout the country. On the day prior, Secretary Castro participated in an Our Homes, Our Votes: 2020 meeting on Skid Row to talk with people experiencing homelessness and discuss his vision for ending homelessness.
On the morning of the debate, Senator Klobuchar became the fourteenth presidential candidate to put out an ambitious housing plan, another in which the scale of the solutions matches the scale of the crisis. These fourteen plans are unlike any we’ve ever seen from presidential candidates. Most center on the lowest income renters and people experiencing homelessness, and all of the plans call for major investments in solutions. The plans wouldn’t have been developed without our collective (all 1000+ organizations!) efforts through Our Homes, Our Votes: 2020. Together, we shaped each plan with research, policy proposals, organizing, education, pressure and – always – an unwavering commitment and urgency to end the crisis.
We didn’t get all that we wanted in last week’s debate, but we are making tremendous progress and there’s much more to come.