Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has introduced legislation designed to construct 12 million new public and private affordable housing units at a cost of $1 trillion.
The proposed Homes for All Act would repeal the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) Faircloth Amendment that has limited the construction of new public housing units since the 1990s. The legislation would allocate $800 billion over 10 years with the goal of building 8.5 million new units of public housing and direct $200 billion into the Housing Trust Fund to help local communities build 3.5 million new privately-operated affordable housing projects for low and extremely-low income families.
Omar’s bill would require public housing operating and capital expenses available for review, with the goal of preventing “future investment bias.” The bill also calls for a new Community Control and Anti-Displacement Fund within HUD that will appropriate $200 billion over 10 years with the goal “to protect families from gentrification, prevent displacement and stabilize neighborhoods.”
“Every American deserves access to a safe and stable place to live, but unfortunately, our current free-market housing system is not meeting the needs of working families,” said Rep. Omar. “On a single night, over 10,000 people in Minnesota were homeless last year—the highest number ever recorded. 6,000 of them were youth–which means children are showing up at school without a place to go home to. And this does not include the thousands more who are behind on rent, or are looking for a permanent home after an eviction. And that’s just Minnesota. Across the nation, families are struggling with homelessness and housing insecurity. We need to treat the affordable housing shortage like the crisis that it is. Housing is a fundamental human right. It’s time we as a nation acted like it and end the housing crisis once and for all.”
Rep. Omar did not offer an explanation of where the $1 trillion for the bill would come from–the entire scope of federal spending for fiscal year 2020 is projected at approximately $4.7 trillion. There is currently no companion bill in the U.S. Senate.