Here are the 2020 presidential candidates’ plans for affordable housing

By Housing News

As the 2020 presidential election heats up, the numerous candidates are tackling the issues at hand, and while it may seem like affordable housing and housing in general have been on the back burner for most candidates so far, that doesn’t mean that they’ve all been silent about housing to this point. 

To that point, here are the proposed affordable housing fixes for each candidate so far according to Our Homes, Our Votes, an organization created by the National Low Income Housing Coalition to “register, educate, and mobilize more low income renters and affordable housing advocates to be involved in voting.

This story was originally published on Sept. 18, 2019.

This list will be updated as more policies are announced. 

Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, recently announced his plan, Housing for All. In his plan, Sanders emphasized cost of living, building more affordable housing units and combating gentrification. 

“In the richest country in the history of the world, every American must have a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home as a fundamental right,” Sanders said on his website. 

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., addressed her plan for affordable housing last October, before she announced her bid for president. 

Affordable housing, along with student loan debt repayment, is a big topic for Warren. In her affordable housing plan, Warren would expand the national Housing Trust Fund and provide $445 billion over 10 years to build, preserve and operate rental homes affordable to families with the greatest needs. Warren would also seek to lower the cost of renting.

Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, has said that “housing is a basic need and a basic right.” Booker’s plan includes providing $40 billion in annual funding for the national Housing Trust Fund to create and establish rental housing for low income families. 

Booker’s plan also includes creating a federally-funded savings account, known as “Baby Bonds,” for children when they are born, so they can have a fair shot at homeownership. Booker would also be expanding the Fair Housing discrimination protections for sexual orientation, gender and source of income. 

Kamala Harris (Update 12/3/19: Harris has announced she has withdrawn from the 2020 presidential election.)

In August, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, announced her extensive plan designed to increase the homeownership rate in black communities, which includes forming a federal grant program through HUD to address the racial wealth gap and investing $100 billion in HUD grants to help black people buy homes in historically redlined communities. 

Pete Buttigieg (Update 10/3/19: Buttigieg has announced more plans to address homelessness.)

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, D-Ind., has laid out his plan, called the Douglass Plan, to also address racial discrepancies in homeownership. Buttigieg’s plan includes ending homelessness for families with children, funding national investments in affordable housing construction and expanding federal protections for tenants against eviction.

Buttigieg said in an interview in September that he believes there should be more Section 8 vouchers, and minimum wage should be increased.

Joe Biden 

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to make sure 100% of all formerly incarcerated individuals have a place to live when they get out of prison, including increasing funding for transitional housing for formerly incarcerated individuals. 

Julián Castro (Update 1/2/20: Castro announced via Twitter that he was ending his presidential campaign.)

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro wants to invest an additional $40 billion in annual funding for the national Housing Trust Fund, expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit by $4 billion and guarantee right to counsel for those facing eviction. 

Castro also proposes to create a renters tax credit for individuals with incomes up to the area’s median income, which would be paid monthly and could be used for a down payment on a mortgage. This would also expand access to the Housing Choice Vouchers by creating an exemption for eligible income based on student loan payments. Castro also said that housing is a human right.

Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has a plan to increase investments in rural communities and expand affordable housing programs to serve Native Americans. 

Klobuchar would also create an emergency fund for renters through portable savings accounts and expand the mobility housing vouchers that would allow families to use the vouchers in higher opportunity neighborhoods. 

Beto O’Rourke (Update 11/6/19: O’Rourke announced Nov. 1 he has withdrawn from the presidential race.)

The former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-TX, has a plan to increase funding for national Housing Trust to increase the stock of affordable housing and rental assistance programs, as well as consider expanding Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. 

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang said he would work with locals to relax zoning ordinances in order to increase the development of affordable housing, as well as building new innovative options for people in higher density areas. 

Steve Bullock

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says he would increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund, establish a federal rental tax credit so renters can afford good housing that’s close to work and school and meet the needs for a growing population, just to name a few of the issues.

John Delaney

Former Rep. John Delaney, D-MD, announced his Cities Fair Deal Plan, a ten-point proposal to help cities and urban communities thrive. Delaney also proposed to increase funding for Homelessness Assistance Grant program and the Department of the Veterans Affairs Grant and Per Diem account. 

Mark Sanford

Former Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford has yet to comment on affordable housing. 

Bill De Blasio (Update 9/20/19: Bill de Blasio announced on Sept. 20, 2019 that he is ending his presidential campaign.)

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has yet to go in depth about an affordable housing plan, but has spoken about combating gentrification and investing more into public housing.

Michael Bennet (Update 10/10/19: Michael Bennet has made a formal announcement addressing affordable housing.)

Prior to announcing a formal plan to takle affordable housing, Sen Michael Bennet, D-CO, has addressed the need for vouchers. 

Bennet said that he believes there should be a connection between transportation costs and housing. Bennet promises his administration would build more affordable housing near good jobs, help middle class families afford a home and reform federal housing tax incentives.

“A home is a platform for stability and upward mobility in America, but for too many families, owning a home is out of reach and the high cost of paying rent has pushed them to a breaking point,” Bennet said in a statement. “As a former superintendent, I know how important it is for kids to have a stable home so they can show up to school ready to learn and succeed. Slogans like national rent control won’t solve the problem. We need to build more homes near good jobs and good schools and ensure people can actually afford them. That’s the bottom line for creating opportunity for all Americans.”

Tulsi Gabbard 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, has yet to comment on affordable housing. 

Wayne Messam

Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam has yet to comment on affordable housing. 

Tim Ryan (Update 10/24/19: Tim Ryan announced via Twitter that he has withdrawn from the presidential race.)

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-OH, has yet to comment on affordable housing. 

Tom Steyer

Billionaire Tom Steyer has yet to announce an affordable housing plan, but has addressed the rise of homelessness across the country. 

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has yet to comment about an affordable housing plan as a tenet of his 2020 re-election campaign.

William Weld

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has yet to comment about an affordable housing plan. 

Joe Walsh

Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-IL, has yet to comment about an affordable housing plan. 

Marianne Williamson

Spiritual author Marianne Williamson has yet to comment about an affordable housing plan.

Michael Bloomberg (Update 12/3/19: Michael Bloomberg entered the presidential race on Nov. 24, 2019.)

Billionaire and former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, made a late entrance into the race. While he has made no formal announcement in regards to affordable housing, his website shows his successes in combating homelessness and creating affordable housing while he was the Mayor of New York City.


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