Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced highlights of his national housing plan during a speech Saturday, emphasizing renter protections and investments in affordable housing.
The plan will cost approximately $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years, the Vermont independent said during a speech in Las Vegas, acknowledging that it is “expensive.”
Sanders said he will call for a national rent control standard, “capping annual rent increases throughout the country at no more than one and a half times the rate of inflation or three percent, whichever is higher,” he said.
Sanders did not offer specifics on how he would pay for the plan aside from raising taxes on “the top one-tenth of one percent” of American households. He stressed that under his housing proposal, “99.9 percent of Americans will not see their taxes go up by one nickel.”
He noted that his late mother’s dream – that their family would move out of their rent-controlled Brooklyn apartment and into their own home – never happened.
“But during her life, at least our family was always able to afford a roof over our heads, because we were living in a rent-controlled building, which meant that for our family and all the other families in our building, rents could not be arbitrarily raised,” he said.
Sanders also announced that he will expand the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund and create an additional two million units of mixed-income housing, which he said would “create many, many good-paying union jobs.”
He would fully fund the Section 8 rental assistance program and establish anti-discrimination protections for program recipients against landlords, he said.
Sanders called to invest more than $32 billion over the next five years to address homelessness, $70 billion to repair and grow public housing, and $50 billion in state and local grants to create community land trusts.
He also called for empowering localities “to go even further to protect tenants from the skyrocketing price of housing” and to “require real estate developers to include affordable housing in the construction of new developments.”