Housing for All
We will fight against predatory foreclosures and evictions to keep people in their homes. We will use public money to build beautiful, eco-friendly housing available to everyone.
The market builds houses for investors, not homes for people. Wall Street sees our homes not as places for folks to live but as assets they can use to make profits. Every year, housing in central Texas gets more expensive, more people have to move further away from where they work, and more people end up homeless. We will fight against predatory foreclosures and evictions to keep people in their homes. We will use public money to build beautiful, eco-friendly housing available to everyone. Housing is a human right, and I am committed to fighting for that vision by building power alongside working class people in our government, in our workplaces, and in our homes.
Build Millions of Affordable Homes
As part of the Green New Deal we will fund and build millions of beautiful, eco-friendly homes. These will be available to everyone, and will lower rents and property taxes for everyone by providing a public option. We support Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal For Public Housing Act which will revitalize and weatherize America’s existing public housing stock, and we support Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Homes For All Act which will invest in building millions of new beautiful, publicly-owned homes.
Central Texas has a rich history of public housing. From the Rosewood Courts, Santa Rita Courts and Chalmers Courts built in the 1930s in Austin, to LBJ’s Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, Central Texas has been at the forefront of the fight for housing as a human right. The right wing has fought to eliminate public housing, but we are fighting back. In 2018, I organized for Austin to pass the largest affordable housing bond is Texas history.
We will continue this fight until housing is a human right for all.
An End to Homelessness
It is a moral failure that people have to sleep outdoors in the richest nation in human history. We must work to abolish homelessness, and a broad consensus of the folks working the closest with this community supports a Housing First approach. This model places folks experiencing homelessness in supportive housing first, and then connects them with services to help with employment, mental and physical health, addiction, and other issues. I support Housing First, but we know that homelessness is a direct consequence of wages staying low while housing, healthcare, and other costs are skyrocketing.
We realize that for every person made homeless by our broken system, there are many more on the verge of homelessness. In Congress, I will fight for the homeless by supporting a Federal ban on laws that criminalize acts necessary to surviving while homeless, such as camping or panhandling. I support funding and grants that will build more permanent supportive housing for the homeless. Finally, we must provide funding to cities and towns with large homeless populations to provide outreach services at the local level, expanding capacity of the most effective programs to reach more people.
Universal, Nationwide Rent Control
Rents in Central Texas are skyrocketing out of control. High rents are causing gentrification, evictions, displacement, and homelessness. Currently, Texas and the majority of states in the US prevent cities from passing their own rent control laws.
We must pass a national cap that prevents landlords from increasing rent by more than 3% a year or 1.5 times the Consumer Price Index (whichever is higher). If landlords make significant improvements to a home, they can apply for a waiver to exempt their building from this cap as an incentive to improve the building, but no one should have to face steep rent increases.
This 3% law will act as the minimum and we will end state preemption on rent control, opening up legal avenues for states and cities to pass even stronger rent control ordinances.
No Discrimination in Our Homes
The history of housing in the United States is rife with discrimination against Black people, poor people, the LGBTQIA+ community, and folks with disabilities – but we have the power to change this. We support Bernie Sanders’s proposal to establish a National Fair Housing Agency to investigate housing discrimination, Section 8 voucher misuse, and renter housing standards, and discrimination.
We support the Equality Act which protects LGBTQIA+ people from housing discrimination. We pledge to fight for the Americans with Disabilities Act so that people with disabilities are able to live in accessible housing integrated in the broader community. We demand an end to housing discrimination against people with criminal records and the formerly incarcerated. We demand just cause eviction protection to protect people from both discrimination and retaliation.
Strengthen Tenants’ Rights
I will establish a national Tenants’ Bill of Rights. It will ensure that we cannot be evicted without just cause, protecting tenants against unjust eviction or retaliation from landlords. It will guarantee that we cannot be discriminated against based on our sexuality, source of income, or marital status. We will be guaranteed the right to free counsel in eviction or foreclosure proceedings or when at risk of losing Section 8 rental assistance. We will be guaranteed the right to withhold our rent if our living conditions are not up to the standard of our lease. We will fund Section 8 vouchers and protect recipients from discrimination.
Keeping Wall Street Out of Your Home
The 2008 financial crisis was caused by criminals who used predatory lending to make money off of hard-working people who lost their homes as a result. These criminals especially targeted Black communities. I will use my power to go after predatory lenders, and give people facing foreclosure more options to work out their loan situation. Wall Street makes money by foreclosing our homes, and we will fight to stop them.
Wall Street also profits off housing speculation, meaning the buying and selling of homes as investments. We will make the rich pay their fair share and penalize the use of homes for profit rather than housing with a 25% House Flipping tax on the sale of a non-owner-occupied property if sold within five years of purchase. We will also fight back with a 2% Empty Homes tax on the property value of owned and unoccupied properties to ensure more housing is actually used. Finally, we will protect low-income homeowners in gentrifying areas from being forced out of their homes by advocating for “Property Tax Circuit Breakers” that provide tax refunds to families paying a large percentage of their incomes in property tax.
We endorse the comprehensive Homes Guarantee collaboratively written by tenants of both corporate landlords and public housing, people experiencing homelessness, manufactured home residents, and housing justice organizers which guarantees safe, accessible, sustainable, and permanently affordable housing to every single person in the United States. This policy addresses the legacy of racial injustice, combats displacement and gentrification, and seeks to permanently end housing insecurity and homelessness in this country. With the Homes Guarantee, we will create publicly-owned and democratically controlled housing that is weatherized and sustainably built using a school-to-union pipeline for construction. To truly address the deep crisis of housing injustice in our country, we must pursue bold solutions crafted by those closest to the problem.