More than seven million households lack access to adequate affordable housing, and many face a daily choice between housing, food, and healthcare. Millions of Americans remain underwater with mortgage payments and millions more can’t get a loan to buy a house.
Housing is a human right. In the richest country in the history of the world, we can end the injustices that leave many Americans without a roof over their heads. I will fight to make housing affordable for all Americans by pushing for the following policies:
Build 10 million public homes over the next 10 years.
Pass tenants bill of rights.
Support local measures to control rent.
Expand the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to at least $5 billion a year in order to construct, preserve, and rehabilitate at least 3.5 million affordable housing rental units over the next decade. Not only will this help address the affordable housing crisis, it will also create millions of good paying jobs in the process.
Raise the Minimum Wage and tie it to inflation, starting at $15 an hour.
Reinvigorate Federal Housing Programs that build affordable housing for families, for the elderly and for the disabled.
Defend Fair Housing. Republicans have tried over and over again to defund efforts to affirmatively promote fair housing. We must push back, defend and strengthen our commitments to these programs, and make sure we never again tacitly condone housing discrimination.
Demand more from Affordable Housing Developers. Housing that is built with government subsidies should remain affordable much longer than the 10, 15 or 20 years typically required by federal housing programs.
Repair Public Housing. We need sufficient funding for public housing operating and capital costs, and we need to reduce the unacceptable backlog of public housing capital needs.
Protect Rental Assistance. We need to provide full funding to all existing project-based rental assistance contracts.
Expand the Housing Choice Initiative. We must increase funding for the housing choice voucher program to target families who need support the most and provide greater economic stability to the more than 3 million households struggling to remain in safe, secure and affordable housing today.
Support First Time Home-buyers. We should expand the Department of Housing and Urban Development and USDA Rural Development assistance programs for first time home-ownership, particularly through down payment assistance, loan guarantees and direct loans.
Expand Pre-Purchase Housing Counseling. Study after study shows that people who receive counseling before buying a home are more likely to succeed at home-ownership. Housing counseling is a good investment in families and communities.
Implement Credit Score Reform. The credit scores of millions of families have been ruined because of foreclosures or other financial hardships from the economic meltdown. If we want to rebuild the lost wealth of working families, we need real credit score reform to make the banking and credit industries work for borrowers and not just lenders.
Prevent Predatory Lending. We need to work toward requiring that all mortgage costs are clear, risks are visible, and nothing is buried in fine print. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must make sure that consumers have the information they need to make good financial decisions.
Protect Homeowner Mortgage Interest Benefits. We need to support tax policies that promote home-ownership, and oppose any reform that would negatively impact middle and low-income homeowners. We need to close the second home & yacht loophole, as there is simply no compelling public interest in subsidizing second homes and yachts. We also need to expand homeowner mortgage interest benefits to the 19 million otherwise eligible homeowners who do not itemize their taxes.
Reinvigorate HARP that was designed to assist homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments but owe more than their home is worth, by allowing them to refinance their underwater mortgages at lower interest rates. While the average homeowner saves about $2,500 per year, many people who theoretically qualify don't benefit because of various application barriers and inadequate outreach.
Expand Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling. We need to expand National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling programs to help underwater homeowners. The best solution is to keep homeowners in their homes.