Senator Warren Calls for a Big Investment in Housing during Presidential Candidate Town Hall

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a candidate for president in 2020, participated in a CNN Town Hall on March 18 at Jackson State University in Mississippi. During the event, she spent nearly three full minutes talking about the need for affordable housing.

In her remarks, Senator Warren highlighted the lack of affordable housing and described the damaging and discriminatory multi-generation impacts of redlining. She then offered solutions for addressing affordable housing, including her proposal to build 3 million more new affordable rental homes – which her proposal to significantly expand the national Housing Trust Fund would accomplish.

“The idea is that we need to make a real investment in housing,” Senator Warren said. “In the same way that we think about health care as a basic human right, having a decent and safe place to live should be a basic human right. And the squeeze is everywhere…we just don’t have enough affordable housing in this country. We should make a big investment in housing.”

“Senator Warren talking about solutions to the housing crisis on [a CNN townhall] is, without a doubt, the most we’ve ever had affordable housing talked about on the presidential campaign trail. And we’re just getting started!” tweeted Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO.

Senator Warren introduced the “American Housing and Economic Mobility Act” (AHEM Act) on March 13. NLIHC worked closely with Senator Warren on developing the bill, which directly addresses the underlying cause of the affordable housing crisis – the severe shortage of affordable rental homes for people with the lowest incomes – through a robust $445 billion investment over ten years in the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF). Her proposal would also expand Fair Housing Act protections, boost funding for rural and tribal housing, impose stronger requirements on banks and lenders, and encourage inclusionary zoning. Senator Warren had already made affordable housing a topic in recent campaign speaking engagements in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Presidential candidates Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have also offered bold affordable housing proposals (see Memo, 2/11). 

For details on the AHEM Act, see NLIHC’s factsheet.