Progressive Lawmakers Introduce The People’s Housing Platform
January 31, 2020
Today, U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), all members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, launched the People’s Housing platform—a groundbreaking, progressive housing framework that declares housing as a fundamental human right.
“Across America, communities large and small are grappling with the housing crisis,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “Centuries of blatant discrimination and decades of federal underinvestment have left people without the resources to provide affordable housing solution. The People’s Housing Platform provides a reset on our housing policy and a bold vision for the future. Progressives are leading the way.”
“Tonight, in the United States of America, the wealthiest nation on earth, more than 500,000 people, including 100,000 children, will experience homelessness. This is why we call this situation a crisis. The experience of homelessness is not a moral failure of individuals, but a structural failing on the part of a society that has failed, again and again, to make the needs of the most vulnerable – including safe and affordable housing – a priority,” Rep. Jayapal said. “There’s one fundamental truth that must guide our policies on homelessness and housing: Housing is a human right. Legislation that seeks to change this must be rooted in the belief that all humans have the right to basic necessities – a bed to sleep in and a roof over their head. As the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, I am so proud of all the work we are doing to improve access to affordable housing and address homelessness. Our legislative package is rooted in an understanding that homelessness has multi-pronged solutions, and that creating and expanding affordable housing must be foremost among them.”
“Too many families I represent in Chicago have never recovered from the 2008 housing crisis that resulted from Wall Street greed. Now, existing land-use policies are driving up rents and home prices—making too many neighborhoods out of reach for working and middle-income families. Gentrification in the Logan Square neighborhood has priced out 20,000 Latinos and 10,000 African Americans in the last decade. The People’s Housing Platform will support more affordable housing. I plan to introduce legislation to address one part of the problem by promoting equitable transit-oriented development to combat gentrification and provide federal incentives to construct affordable housing near public transportation stations,” said Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García.
“Residents in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District and across the country are demanding access to safe and affordable housing. It’s past time for the federal government to step up and recognize housing as a human right. We must make structural changes that benefit and center disproportionately impacted and vulnerable communities by lifting up programs and initiatives that increase housing affordability, homeownership and the quality of housing. I’m proud to be joining my incredible colleagues and grassroots advocates in announcing the People’s Housing Platform. Together, we will end wasteful tax giveaways to wealthy investors and put neighborhoods first,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
"A stable, safe and affordable home lays the foundation for a prosperous life and a thriving community,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “I am proud to join my colleagues in this fight to guarantee housing as a human right.”
“When I first arrived in the United States of America, from a refugee camp with no permanent housing, I turned to my father and said, ‘This is not the America you told us about.’ He smiled and calmly said, ‘Don’t worry. We will get to that America.’ More than two decades later, I am still waiting to get to the America where everyone has their fundamental human right to housing guaranteed,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar. “The only way we get there is if we have the moral courage to invest in housing on a scale not seen since the New Deal. The People’s Housing Plan is the way we do that. I am proud to be part of a movement of progressive members to make that a reality.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley said, “I know firsthand the challenges faced by those of us who were left out of the housing conversation – families like mine that were headed by a single parent and impacted by both redlining and mass incarceration. In my district, the Massachusetts 7th - a district that spans from Cambridge to Roxbury - housing and income disparities have led to a gap in median income of $50,000, resulting in a drop in life expectancy from 92 years old in the Back Bay to 62 years old in Roxbury. The People’s Housing Platform affirms housing justice for all Americans by committing to robust federal investments into our nation’s housing stock. Access to safe, decent and affordable housing is a fundamental human right and the displacement of families should be regarded as the public health crisis that it is.”
"Everyone living in the United States should have safe, accessible, sustainable, and permanently affordable housing. Right now, our country falls woefully short of delivering on this promise. The housing and homelessness crises are the direct and predictable result of treating housing as a commodity rather than a human right. This package of legislation sets a new standard for progressive housing policy, taking major strides towards systemic change. For the first time in a century, legislators are taking action to address the scale of the housing crisis and prioritize people's needs over corporations' profits. The legislative champions behind the People's Housing Platform have listened to movement demands and followed the leadership of directly impacted people," said Tara Raghuveer, director of the Homes Guarantee campaign at People's Action.
Dianne Enriquez, co-director, community dignity campaigns at the Center for Popular Democracy said "our country has a proud tradition of neighbors coming together to advocate for fair housing. Today, this movement has come to the House of Representatives. The People's Housing Platform would end homelessness and make sure that housing is affordable for all. This bold, collaborative proposal is the best path forward for our housing movements."
“Our nation is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis that most severely impacts America’s lowest-income seniors, people of color, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals who struggle to afford to keep a roof over their heads or who have no home at all,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. “Robust investments in proven solutions, like those proposed by Representatives Pressley, Omar, Tlaib, Blumenauer, Ocasio-Cortez, Garcia, and Jayapal, are needed to solve the housing crisis. Our country can choose to end homelessness and housing poverty – we have the data, the solutions, and the resources. We lack only the political will to fund solutions at the scale necessary. NLIHC stands ready to work with these congressional champions and others to enact bold legislation to end homelessness and housing poverty once and for all.”
Across the country, millions of families do not have access to safe, decent and affordable housing – fueling life- and health-threatening conditions. This coalition of lawmakers have called on Congress to make reforming federal housing policy a top priority. Together they have introduced, or plan to introduce, a suite of legislation to address some of America’s most vexing housing challenges, such as a steady decline in available public housing, skyrocketing rents in communities large and small, undersupply of affordable housing, and hundreds of thousands of people experiencing homelessness every day.
Congressman Blumenauer released a housing report titled “Locked out: Reversing Federal Housing Failures and Unlocking Opportunity.” This report recognizes the history of federal housing discrimination and underinvestment, offers solutions to solve the housing crisis, and calls on the federal government to invest in a future where housing is a human right. Blumenauer advocates for investing more in public housing, combatting homelessness by providing federal funding incentives for state “Housing First” policies, expanding renters and home owners tax credits, and enacting more comprehensive fair housing initiatives.
You can read more about the Congressman's federal housing plan by finding a one-page summary of the report here. The full report can be found here.