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Presidential Policy Series: Housing

Are you a city dweller who spends more than half your income on rent? Do you struggle to find affordable, equitable housing options? Is your town slowly being eaten away by blight? If so, housing is likely an important issue to you in this presidential campaign.

2016.09.20.Presidential_Series.pngDespite slow recovery from the housing market crash, millions of Americans still struggle to access and afford homes in both cities and small towns. Lower-income, LGBT, and veteran populations are particularly at risk for homelessness. With so many Americans grappling with predatory lending practices or skyrocketing rent, it’s no wonder that housing is an important priority in this year’s election cycle. After all, affordability, neighborhood conditions, and quality of homes all have a strong effect on people’s mental and physical health.

Let’s take a look at how the candidates address this issue.

Hillary Clinton’s Position on Housing

Hillary Clinton has put forth a comprehensive plan for ensuring affordable, accessible housing for people across the economic spectrum. She wants to increase incentives for new affordable housing developments and break down local barriers to building affordable housing in areas of economic opportunity. She will provide funding to match up to $10,000 in savings for families to put towards a down payment and increase funding for counseling programs that help borrowers manage their money more responsibly.

Clinton will work with government agencies to expand access to home loans and ensure that the Department of Justice enforces fair lending and housing laws. She will also defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to strengthen its advocacy for families. She’ll equip local governments with the resources and opportunities to create scalable, multi-block investments in rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts.

Clinton wants to give families and at-risk populations the choice to live wherever they want, instead of confining affordable housing to just high poverty areas. She’ll fight housing discrimination against the LGBT community and provide housing aid for veterans. She hopes to couple housing assistance programs with revitalization efforts in low income neighborhoods. And she’ll tackle homelessness and revitalize neighborhoods experiencing decline and decay.

Donald Trump’s Position on Housing

Donald Trump has not directly addressed housing, which is surprising for a real estate magnate. And if we look to his past for hints on how he’d tackle the issue, you'll find his extensive and well-documented history of housing discrimination.

In the 1970s, Trump and his father, Fred Trump, denied rentals to minorities, lying about lack of vacancies at their properties while allowing white tenants to fill them. In 1973, the Department of Justice brought charges against the Trump corporation for violating the Civil Rights Act. In fact, this is one of the biggest lawsuits ever brought by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination against African Americans. The Trumps settled, but was brought to court shortly after for not complying with the settlement. Again, in 1982, Trump Management was one of several New York City landlords hit with a class-action discrimination lawsuit, which they also settled.

As the Republican candidate for President, he’s yet to put forth a concrete housing plan, though his track record doesn’t inspire much confidence in how he’ll tackle this issue in office. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has championed affordable housing, equitable housing laws, and economic growth for communities across the nation. Her plan specifically addresses the struggle faced by at-risk populations. While we’re left to speculate on Trump’s plans, we can be sure that Clinton will fight to secure our ability to fulfill one of the most fundamental needs: shelter.

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Topics: housing insecurity public policy election 2016