We need to pass HR 4351, and S 1919 (YIMBY Act).
And then, we need to pass a Homes Guarantee that will:
- Build 12 million social housing units and eradicate homelessness
- Reinvest in existing public housing
- Protect renters and bank tenants
- Pay reparations for centuries of racist housing policies
- End land/real estate speculation and de-commodify housing
Fully realized, these initiatives would guarantee homes for all. Rents will be set based on tenants’ needs and real costs to local government, rather than speculative market prices. Land will be stewarded by and on behalf of everyday people instead of financialized by developers and landlords. A Homes Guarantee will offer both reparative and proactive approaches, including restorative justice to communities impacted by decades of discriminatory housing policy, as well as investments that slash carbon emissions and support resiliency from ongoing climate breakdown. – HomesGuarantee.com, People’s Action.
Why We Need It
In our 34th Congressional District, the median income for a family of four is $37,000~ while the average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is well over $1800. When you do the math, you wonder how a family of four could live with this kind of income. They can’t.
So, many of them live with another family in the same unit; live on debt, with credit cards and loans; work 2-3 jobs; move out of town and/or struggle until they end up getting evicted and then experience homelessness.
And it’s not just because of housing that we experience this all, but also due to greater systemic issues of all sorts interplaying with each other. However, housing is certainly one area in which we can make significant positive change in social justice and equality for all; more specifically, housing for all, because housing is indeed a human right – no human being or American should ever have to worry day in and day out about whether they’ll be able to eat, have a roof to sleep under, have access to good healthcare and education, or be able to pay for their basic living expenses and costs. Human value comes before economic value, and we should ensure that every American is able to have access to affordable housing.
Most low-income households pay more than half of their income on rent. This is wrong.
21 million households, disproportionately people of color, spend over 30% of their income on housing. This is wrong.
Only 1 in 5 households that qualify for federal housing assistance actually receives it. This is wrong.
We need to care for our people and ensure that all have the equal ability to pursue a happy life. This starts with directly addressing and responding to America’s systemic, racialized housing emergency.
Additionally, with a shortage of 500,000+ units for low income renters in Los Angeles county alone and underproduced housing of 7.3 million homes from 2000 to 2015 federally, per Up for Growth’s Housing Underproduction in the U.S. report (HR 4351 YIMBY Act), we are in a housing crisis. And we aren’t even talking about the 3 million people experiencing homelessness in our country, or the 7,000 unhoused brothers and sisters on Skid Row in our district, or the 60,000+ unhoused neighbors living in LA County.
Even with the public housing that our country does have, existing public housing units require over $70 billion for physical improvements to account for dilapidation and poor conditions, with 66% of public housing residents being people of color. While in Los Angeles, we have less than 10,000 units available compared to counties like New York, which has over 175,000 public housing units. This utter failure to fully address these issues drives racialized housing inequality and institutionalizes racism for many more years to come. The time for change is long overdue.
What We Are Fighting For
Firstly, passing a Homes Guarantee would mean that we would be able to build 12 million new social housing units over the next 10 years with the goal of providing homes to the nearly 12 million renter households who are currently extremely cost burdened (paying over 50% of their income to rent) and to the millions experiencing homelessness. Rent would be charged according to real costs-based or income-based formulas (i.e., no more than 30% of one’s income), and as social housing would be permanently off the private market, we would eliminate the profiteering and short-term maximization of profits that come at the expense of the people.
Secondly, a Homes Guarantee would allow us to recommit to public housing, beginning with repealing the Faircloth Amendment — which prohibits new public housing construction — as well as a multi-billion dollar reinvestment in pubic housing where it currently exists.
Thirdly, a Homes Guarantee would pass a national tenant bill of rights that is needed to protect tenants all across the country and especially during times like the recent COVID-19 pandemic, in which many of our people have suffered to a catastrophic degree.
Fourthly, a Homes Guarantee would pay reparations for centuries of racist land and housing policies.
Fifthly, a Homes Guarantee would end land and real estate speculation while also serving to de-commodify housing.
For more info on the Homes Guarantee plan, click here.
What It Will Do
A Homes Guarantee will provide a roof over everyone’s head, improve education, health and employment prospects for tens of millions of people, and will provide a meaningful step in equalizing disparities across racial lines. A Homes Guarantee will also play a critical role in the environment and reversing climate change, as every housing intervention within the Homes Guarantee must also be a climate intervention, be it from upgrading the existing building stock and making it carbon neutral, or ensuring that everyone has equal, sufficient access to efficient and affordable energy in their homes, not disadvantaging any community or group of people because of their race or socio-economic status.
In the world’s wealthiest country, we can and we must guarantee safe, accessible, sustainable and permanently affordable housing for everyone. – HomesGuarantee.com, People’s Action