Ilhan Omar Introduces Bill to Guarantee Housing as a Human Right

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minnesota), introduced a bill on Thursday that would remove a limit to the construction of public housing, and take steps towards guaranteeing affordable housing for all Americans.

The Homes for All ActThe legislation would authorize construction of 12,000,000 affordable housing units and public housing units. This would result in a $1 trillion investment over the next decade. The legislation would also make funding for maintenance and other expenses related to public housing mandatory, in order to ensure that public housing funding isn’t cut in the future.

Omar stated that the bill is cosponsored by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D–New York), AyannaPressley (D–Massachusetts), RashidaTlaib (D–Michigan), and other progressive Representatives. This bill is particularly timely considering the nation’s urgent housing crisis.

“Since the eviction moratorium ended, we have seen an uptick in people being kicked out of their homes,” Omar said in a statement. “We need solutions that meet the scale of this crisis. We need Homes for All, my bill to invest in 12 million new housing units – vastly expanding the available affordable housing stock, driving down costs throughout the market and creating a new vision of what public housing looks like in the United States of America.”

The bill targets a specific provision, the Faircloth Amendment. This provision has prevented the government’s construction of large numbers of new public housing units in mass quantities since 1999. The amendment was supported by Republicans in the ‘90s, specifically bars public housing agencies from using funds to build new housing, and locks in the amount of public housing units to the level they were at in 1999.

Housing advocates have been calling for the repeal and replacement of the Faircloth Amendment since its inception. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), is one of several legislators who have introduced legislation to remove the provision.

Ocasio Cortez was elected last year introduced legislationShe attached a document specifically aimed at repealing this limit it to an early version of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill last year, but affordable housing provisions were ultimatelyThe social spending provisions were not negotiated out and were eventually scrapped entirely by conservative Democrats.

Omar has introduced the Homes for All ActIn 2019, as it was in the past. But this week’s bill comes as the nation faces a new crisis, fueled by pandemic-related economic instability and real estate firmsThat is what you are. Buy a homeThese can be used to make investments in record numbers.

Individual and institutional investors accounted for 25% of all home sales by 2021. These investments include homes at low and mid-prices, which means that homebuyers are being outcompeted and forced into renting.

Corporate landlords seem to be engaged in a coordinated effort. jack up rent pricesExploiting tenants who are already experiencing high levels of inflation. According to RedfinOn average, rents have risen 14 percent; in some cities like Austin Texas, rents are increasing an average of 40 percentThis forces people to reevaluate and find new homes.

Housing advocates have praised this bill as being timely and urgently required. It has been supported by organizations like the National Coalition for the Homeless (NLAHC), the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Working Families Party.

“Everyone living in the United States should have safe, accessible, sustainable, and permanently affordable housing: a Homes Guarantee. Right now, our country falls woefully short of delivering on this promise,” said Tara Raghuveer, housing campaign director for People’s Action, which also endorsed the bill. “The housing and homelessness crises are the direct and predictable result of treating housing as a commodity rather than a human right… This will be the new standard by which progressive housing policy is measured.”