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  • Writer's pictureAlliance for Housing Justice

Immediate Priorities and Approach Needed from a Biden/Harris Administration on Housing

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Overarching Approach

It is nearly unfathomable, but the stark reality is that tens of millions of people in our nation — in the midst of winter and a raging pandemic — face losing their homes. As recent studies have shown, the impact is most profoundly felt by marginalized people and eviction and homeless equal deaths. The Administration must immediately, on Day 1, address these issues by using all of their power to strengthen, extend and enforce a loophole-free national eviction and foreclosure moratorium for every person, regardless of their immigration status, their type of housing, their experience with incarceration, or the terms of their lease, mortgage or deed.

Policy Priorities

I. Immediately respond to the looming eviction, foreclosure and debt crisis.

The Administration must immediately implement comprehensive rent, debt and mortgage forgiveness and work with Congress to pass and structure all relief for mortgagees and landlords that is scaled to preference those that provide low and moderate-income housing and is contingent upon tenant and mortgagor protections including just cause eviction protections, and protections against rent increases.

II. Undo the recent damage of the current Administration

Under the Trump Administration Black, Brown, Indigenous, women, LGBTQ+, immigrant and low-income people faced unprecedented levels of assault. The Biden/Harris Administration must immediately upon inauguration repeal and withdraw some of the most damaging rules and regulations including:

Under the Trump Administration Black, Brown, Indigenous, women, LGBTQ+, immigrant, and low-income people faced unprecedented levels of assault. The Biden/Harris Administration must immediately upon inauguration repeal and withdraw some of the most damaging rules and regulations including:

  • Equal Access Rule, which would allow for government funded emergency housing providers to deny access to people in need, in particular to the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Disparate Impact Rule, which would mortally wound the ability to enforce anti-discrimination and would lead to even more unchecked discrimination and segregation in access to housing and housing development.

  • Reinstate the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule to undo the structural discrimination of local and state housing policies.

  • Mixed-Status Rule, which would throw tens of thousands of people out of their homes, including up to 55,000 children for no reason other than bigotry and xenophobia.

  • Forcefully reject efforts to raise rents for public and subsidized housing residents

  • Reinstate Housing First policies in pursuing solutions to permanently housing unhoused people.

III. Begin to undo the damage of decades of disinvestment and racist housing policy.

Long term disinvestment coupled with structurally racist federal and local policy has led directly to the unprecedented housing crisis of today; that damage needs to be undone. Our priorities include:

  • Advocating for full funding to fund the backlog of Public Housing repairs and implement the policies of a Green New Deal for Public Housing.

  • Providing housing assistance for all those who need it and include a national just cause eviction standard, a national cap on rent increases, and the right to counsel.

  • Establishing and funding, or sets of acquisition funding pools that will allow for community, non-profit, local government and tenant ownership to create an adequate stock of permanently affordable housing. This includes transferring all federally acquired housing to public/community control.

  • Establish federal funding conditions that require states, cities and counties to have public land disposition rules that ensure public land for public good, and that encourage states to repeal or not enforce preemption of local affordable housing strategies such as inclusionary zoning and rent control. Require local government entities to eliminate racist and discriminatory policies such as source of income discrimination, ‘crime-free housing’ policies, and other laws that bar formerly incarcerated people from accessing housing.

  • Create and implement federal guidelines, in collaboration with the Federal Housing and Finance Administration, that require all non-profit developers and landlords that receive direct federal funding or access to government-backed financial products, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to abide by rent justification, good cause eviction, fair treatment and other protections that prevent displacement of families and strengthen access to affordable housing options.

IV. Appoint and hire staff that are committed to the human right to housing.

Personnel is policy. It is critically important that the people who lead and staff HUD and FHFA — and the entire administration — must act in the spirit of humble service to those who are most deeply impacted by the crises we are facing and that includes including and listening to their voices at the front-end of every policy discussion. HUD and FHFA staff must also have a deep orientation to housing as a fundamental human right, to work for guaranteed homes for all and not for increasing the profit of speculators and corporations.

The National Housing Justice Grassroots Table includes the Alliance for Housing Justice, Center for Popular Democracy, Housing Justice for All NY, Manufactured Housing Action, Partnership for Working Families, People’s Action, and the Right to the City Alliance.

Immediate Priorities and Approach Needed
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