The Movement for Black Lives released the “BREATHE Act” on September 24, a sweeping proposal to divest resources from policing and incarceration and invest in a new vision of community safety focused on non-carceral approaches and building sustainable, equitable communities. The bill includes strong housing provisions, on which NLIHC advised the “BREATHE Act” authors.
The bill proposes allocating money to build healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities for people of color, enhancing the self-determination of Black communities, and expanding public housing, the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), Housing Choice Vouchers, and fair housing protections.
The “BREATHE Act” proposes creating a reentry housing voucher program for people exiting the criminal legal system, barring public housing agencies from denying assistance to people exiting the criminal legal system, fully funding Housing Choice Vouchers, and expanding fair housing protections to include gender identity, sexual orientation, source of income, immigration status, marital status, and veteran status. It would provide $44.5 billion annually to the HTF for 10 years and $30 billion annually to the Public Housing Capital Fund for five years. The bill would also create state and local grant programs for communities working to end racial segregation, ensure housing for formerly incarcerated people, secure affordable housing, combat gentrification, and stop racially discriminatory zoning policies.
Additionally, the “BREATHE Act” would provide $1 trillion over 10 years for the creation of 12 million units of social housing that would be permanently affordable. Of these units, at least 600,000 would be set aside for permanent supportive housing to provide free, voluntary onsite supportive services for people experiencing chronic homelessness. The bill proposes a $200 billion grant program to combat gentrification and neighborhood destabilization.
Further, the bill would reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2019 (NAHASDA), provide down payment assistance for historically redlined communities, and establish a new program to purchase abandoned properties and give them to local residents impacted by redlining or racial segregation. The bill also advocates for greater enforcement of fair housing laws and proposes the creation of an Office of Racial and Economic Equity at HUD to help combat housing discrimination.
See an outline of the “BREATHE Act” at: https://tinyurl.com/y3kh9np7
Learn more about the “BREATHE Act” at: https://breatheact.org/