AOC & the Progressive Consensus on Housing

On Wednesday, Congresswoman and progressive vanguard Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released her “A Place to Prosper Act,” a bold plan to restructure the U.S. housing system.

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A Green Homes Guarantee Is Popular

A Green New Deal for Housing would combine targeted green investment in frontline communities and affordable housing with a renewed commitment to affordable housing. Data for Progress has already shown how much support there is for much of the Green New Deal agenda.

Here, we focus on housing tie-ins.

On September 5, People’s Action’s #HomesGuarantee campaign released a Briefing Book that details an incredibly bold housing justice agenda. This agenda was informed and finalized through intense consultations between grassroots leaders, housing organizers, and a team of progressive policy thinkers, coming from all around the country (full disclosure, I was on the Policy Team). If a Green New Deal for Housing is looking for housing agenda to connect to, the Homes Guarantee campaign is the leading candidate.

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Oregon & the Progressive Kitchen Sink Approach to Housing

Oregon wrapped up its legislative session last month with a flurry of activity, making up for the lost time stolen by Republican state senators in their weeklong walkout over carbon pricing legislation. In their final days of legislating with a restored quorum, Democrats passed a torrent of progressive bills – ranging from guaranteed paid family leave to drivers license access for undocumented people. 

In that wave of accomplishments, Oregon blazed a new path forward on progressive housing policy that should be replicated by states and localities across the country – a multipronged approach protecting tenants, funding affordable housing, tackling the housing shortage, and ending exclusionary zoning. As progressives continue to seek a unifying approach to the housing crisis, Oregon shows a way: Reject the lure of silver bullets and embrace the kitchen sink.

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Major Rent Law Passes In New York, But The Fight For Affordable Housing Is Just Starting

The national fight for rent control scored a major victory in New York last week. Finally acknowledging the depths of the affordable housing crisis across the state, both houses passed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 that represents nearly everything in the Universal Rent Control platform that the state-wide tenant campaign Housing Justice for All has fought for over the last two years. The final version is a dramatic swing in political fortunes in favor of tenants and against the worst speculators within the real estate industry. This was confirmed when Governor Cuomo quickly and quietly signed the bill into law over the loud protestations of the powerful developers who have funded his campaigns for years.

Across the media landscape, big corporate landlords and developers are crying out that this law will single-handedly kill the state’s real estate industry and make the housing crisis worse. That is just absurd alarmism. On the other hand, for many tenants, this bill won’t impact them either way - yet. Let’s dig into the details to see what this bill actually does and doesn’t do and how this sets up the bigger battles to come.

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Homes for All

Housing is the largest single expense for the average American, costing one third to one half of pay for millions of Americans. Twenty-one million American families – over a sixth of the United States – are considered cost-burdened and at elevated risk of homelessness. Millions are taking on extra jobs or cutting back on healthcare or food to stay housed. At least 553,000 homeless Americans are living on the street.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “85% of Americans believe ensuring everyone has a safe, decent, affordable place to live should be a ‘top national priority.’”

Americans need more affordable homes, and progressive politicians need a plan to give it to them.

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The Crisis Of Voter Turnout In Public Housing

Using the New York State voterfile made available by the New York State Board of Elections, Data for Progress geocoded active voters to understand the role that public housing status plays in election turnout. Here, we focus on turnout in the November 8, 2016 general election. While statewide turnout in 2016 was about 57 percent of the vote-eligible population, here we report turnout as a percent of those who are active on the NYS voterfile. Using the active voterfile as the denominator, our reported numbers will appear higher than this 57 percent baseline. This is because we report turnout among active voters, not among the entire vote-eligible population.

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Neighborhood Defenders and the Capture of Land Use Politics

Many American cities are facing housing crises, with rapidly escalating prices placing homeownership, reasonable commutes, and even safe and secure housing out of the reach of middle- and lower-income Americans. Most economists believe that, to address this problem, we need to increase the supply of market-rate housing in these high-cost cities. Despite widespread consensus on the need to build more housing, housing shortages persist across many urban areas. Why, if most informed observers, and many city leaders, believe that we need more housing, are most cities failing to keep pace with growing housing demand?

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An Update on Elizabeth Warren's Housing Plan

Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren reintroduced her expansive housing bill, including several notable additions since we released our analysis. We are not above humblebragging that it incorporates some of our suggestions. Though it still doesn’t include everything we think is necessary for a transformative progressive housing agenda, her willingness to take feedback and improve her proposal is a testament to how seriously Warren is taking housing.  So far, no other candidate can claim that. Here’s what’s new.

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Analyzing The 2020 Presidential Contenders' Housing Policies

The next President of the United States will give a shit about housing.

The average American spends far more on housing than any other expense, the vast majority sees housing affordability as a serious problem, and most people report having made a serious personal sacrifice to afford rent or a home payment.

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The New Fight For Affordable Housing

Last week, tenants and housing activists all across the country staged protests and lobby sessions as part of the Renters Rising for Rent Control Day of Action to demand immediate relief from the housing crisis. In New York, California, Illinois, and other states across the country, activists are rallying around rent control - a policy once widely available, highly effective, and broadly popular with the American people that is starting to make a comeback in policy and academic circles.

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