A Green Homes Guarantee Is Popular

Daniel Aldana Cohen (@aldatweets)

Today, Bernie Sanders released an ambitious housing agenda that’s also integrated into his Green New Deal plans, stating simply “We need a homes guarantee.” Is this kind of housing ambition popular? Today, we are publishing recent polling on these issues. Most of these results have never been reported before and show strong support for a Green Homes Guarantee.


Sanders’ housing agenda includes nearly ten million publicly-funded social housing units, national caps on rent rises, protections against eviction including universal right to counsel, and zoning reforms to ensure that affordable apartments can be built in middle and upper class neighborhoods. And throughout the plan, and in a dedicated concluding section, Sanders advocates a Green New Deal for housing, including weatherization of all low-income homes and decarbonization of public housing. 

And Sanders’ call for no-carbon public housing recalls Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent celebration of sustainable affordable housing for seniors as “a great example of what can be accomplished w/ a #GreenNewDeal.”

Sanders’ plan also echoes some of the most ambitious proposals put forward by social movements already—most notably,  People’s Action’s #HomesGuarantee campaign. People’s Action’s September 5 Briefing Book details an incredibly bold housing justice agenda. That 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). 

Among the Homes Guarantee’s core planks are the following commitments:

  • Build 12 million social housing units connected to public transit, and eradicate homelessness;

  • Reinvest in existing public housing;

  • Protect renters and bank tenants;

  • Reform zoning rules to facilitate affordable housing construction in every neighborhood;

  • Pay reparations for centuries of racist housing policies; and,

  • End land/real estate speculation and de-commodify housing

Cutting across all these social commitments are points of intersection with a bold Green New Deal.

In all these visions, 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.

According to our polling over the past several months, despite—or perhaps because of—that campaign’s boldness, many of its central ideas are already highly popular, according to polling conducted by Data for Progress polling in April, July, and August on housing issues. Most of this polling 

We’ll be conducting more polling on planks from this agenda. In the meantime, a look back at our earlier polls finds strong support for the agenda’s key planks.

In an August blog, we discussed our finding of strong support for for green investment in frontline communities nationwide (and across partisan lines).


In a recent August poll, Data for Progress found very strong support for a universal right to counsel, where all tenants facing eviction would be guaranteed legal representation.

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In April, Data for Progress polled on a number of housing policy planks that would be at the core of a Green New Deal for Housing. Data for Progress found majority support for a massive building out of public and non-profit housing to ensure that every American has an affordable home.


Data for Progress found majority support for a huge $50 billion fund to weatherize all low-income homes to slash carbon emissions, increase comfort, and cut home energy costs.


And Data for Progress found majority support for zoning regulation reforms to ensure that low-cost apartments could be built in middle- and upper-class neighborhoods.


Data for Progress has also found strong support for subsidies to help tenants cover rent.


Voters are also strongly supportive of requiring landlords to report data on evictions, rent increases and investment.

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In short, there is compelling evidence that a majority of Americans wants to do big things to tackle housing, and they are comfortable with combining targeted climate and housing investment.

Daniel Aldana Cohen (@aldatweets) is a Senior Fellow at Data for Progress, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2, University of Pennsylvania

The April survey was fielded by YouGov Blue on behalf of Data for Progress from April 16th, 2019 - April 18th, 2019. This survey is based on 1,071 interviews conducted by YouGov on the internet of self-identified voters. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, and Census region based on registered voters in the November 2016 Current Population Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Respondents were selected from YouGov's panel to be representative of registered voters.

The August survey was fielded by YouGov Blue on behalf of Data for Progress. The survey was based on 1,380 registered voters using YouGov's online panel. The survey fielded between August 15th and August 17th, 2019, and was weighted to be representative of the national population of US voters by age, race/ethnicity, sex, education, US census region, and 2016 Presidential vote choice. Respondents were selected from YouGov's panel to be representative of registered voters.

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