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January 29, 2020

Rep. Pressley, Progressive Lawmakers Introduce The People’s Housing Platform

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), 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 and underscores Progressive’s commitment to tackle the affordable housing crisis.

Across the country, millions of families do not have access to safe, decent, affordable housing – fueling life- and health-threatening conditions. This coalition of progressive lawmakers are committing to pursue bold reforms to our nation’s federal housing policies and push for robust investments needed to address the affordable housing crisis with the urgency it requires. Together they have introduced, or plan to introduce, a suite of legislation to address some of America’s most vexing housing challenges, such as the troubling  decline in available public housing, skyrocketing rents in communities large and small, and supports for the hundreds of thousands of people experiencing homelessness every day.

Congresswoman Pressley has remained a fierce advocate for housing justice throughout her first year in Congress. In July 2019, she introduced H.R. 4008 – the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, bold legislation that would ban the use of untested and systematically-biased facial analytic technology in public housing. In December, she introduced H.R. 5406 – The Grandfamily Housing Act, a bill to provide funding to help grandparents raising their grandchildren access safe, affordable and appropriate housing. Additionally, she has been outspoken in her opposition to anti-tenant policies proposed by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, including changes to the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) and efforts to rollback essential protections for transgender Americans experiencing homelessness and seeking shelter.

“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,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “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.” 

“Across America, communities large and small are grappling with the housing crisis,” said Congressman  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.”

“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 Congressman 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 Congresswoman Tlaib.

“A stable, safe and affordable home lays the foundation for a prosperous life and a thriving community,” said Congresswoman 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 Congresswoman 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.”

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.”


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