Ilhan Omar’s $1T housing plan aims to create 12M affordable units

The congresswoman says “our current free-market housing system is not meeting the needs of working families”

Nov.November 21, 2019 06:00 PM
Rep. Ilhan Omar (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Rep. Ilhan Omar (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Bernie Sanders has one. So does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Now, Representative Ilhan Omar has added her own housing plan to the field of left-leaning elected officials who have proposed dramatic expansions of how government funds housing.

The Minnesota Democrat is calling for $1 trillion to be invested into affordable housing and public housing across the country, which she says will create 12 million units over the next decade.

The proposal, dubbed the “Homes for All Act,” would scrap the Faircloth Amendment, which has barred the federal government from constructing new public housing units since it was signed into law 20 years ago.

“Our current free-market housing system is not meeting the needs of working families,” said Omar, a Democrat who has aligned herself with Cortez and has sparked controversy with some of her statements.

Under Omar’s plan, the inclusion of operating and capital expenses would be mandatory for the construction of new public housing. In New York City, which has the largest public housing authority in the country, the agency has a budget shortfall of $32 billion.

The congresswoman’s plan also includes $800 billion over the next decade to build 8.5 million new public housing units and $200 billion to construct 3.5 million permanent deeply affordable private housing units.

The Somali-American politician also wants a $200 billion “Community Control and Anti-Displacement” fund that would be managed by the federal housing agency. The fund would disperse money to local governments for projects to house displaced people and stabilize neighborhoods.

It would also tighten rules for “exploitative” developers and ensure that residents have the right of first refusal, which would grant homeowners the right to purchase their buildings — such as in the case of foreclosure proceedings — before anyone else can.

Omar is the latest politician on the national stage to call for an expansion of funding for public housing. Sen. Sanders, along with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez have released plans of their own in recent months. While both their plans include “good cause” eviction and limits on annual rent increases, those provisions are absent from Omar’s plan.

The massive $2.5 trillion Sanders plan would cap annual rent increases at 3 percent or 1.5 times the consumer price index, whichever is higher. The Vermont Democrat and presidential candidate would also allow states and cities to pass their own rent-control standards, even if they had stricter limits on rent increases.

AOC’s housing plan, released shortly after the Sanders’ plan, would cap annual rent increases for landlords with at least five properties to 3 percent of the average rent or the consumer price index, whichever is greater. The New York congresswoman’s plan also includes $10 billion over the next decade for lead abatement, $6.5 billion to fund tenants’ right to counsel for eviction proceedings and expanded data disclosure requirements for large “market-controlling” landlords.


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