Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is hoping for an upset victory or at least a very close second in Tuesday’s New York State presidential primary, on Sunday released a policy paper that suggested he’s learned at least one thing in his recent trips to the Empire State: affordable housing is the issue just about everyone wants to talk about.
Sanders affordable housing plan is pretty comprehensive in scope, addressing homelessness, rental housing, home-ownership, environmental issues and more. It is, however, a little light on detail, for instance calling for a hike in funding for housing choice vouchers, commonly known as Section 8, but not saying by how much.
For the most part, Sanders plan is about bulking up existing federal programs. He wants to boost funding the the National Housing Trust Fund (which he helped create), restore support for programs that built senior and disabled housing, expand home-ownership counseling and protect the mortgage interest deduction. The lack of the shiny and new might reflect that fact that those existing programs largely work and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
A few elements of the Sanders proposal are unique to affordable-housing plans. Sanders roots the call for a higher minimum wage in the need to close the gap between average wages and the cost of housing. He advocates for permanent affordability in federally subsidized housing. And he notes the role of credit scoring in hampering some families’ applications for mortgages.
Check the plan out, here.