Bernie Sanders is the progressive candidate on housing.
Bernie’s policy lifts up the housing movement’s demands. Borrowing from People’s Action, a multiracial working class advocacy organization, it understands that housing must be provisioned according to need, not profit, and that housing justice means empowering and protecting tenants.
The profit-driven housing market has warped a basic need into a vehicle for speculation and wealth accumulation. Bernie’s plan provides an alternative, pledging massive investments in non-market housing: it rehabilitates (and decarbonizes) our public housing stock, funds community land trusts, builds millions of affordable units, and penalizes speculation. It fully funds the Section 8 program, eliminating the waitlist, and provides supportive housing for the unhoused.
Bernie’s plan also mandates robust tenant protections. It guarantees just cause for eviction, the right to form a tenant union, and a 3% rent increase cap. It strengthens housing discrimination law and adds LGBTQ protections.
Elizabeth Warren’s plan doesn’t demonstrate the same grasp of the crisis or respect for the housing movement. Hers provides only $3.6B for public housing rehabilitation (New York City’s stock alone requires $30B in repairs) and doesn't mention rental assistance. It conditions federal funding on some tenant protections, but does not require them. Most notably, she opposes a national rent increase cap.
Bernie’s plan makes the boldest investment in non-market housing and understands that reforms are best implemented nationally, so that landlords and developers cannot divest from individual cities that implement them. For real solutions to the housing crisis, vote for Bernie Sanders.
Learn more about Bernie's housing policy at his website. This article was originally submitted as a letter to the editor to The Olympian.