All Americans have the right to a roof over their head. As a country, we must commit ourselves to ending homelessness if we are ever going to achieve that goal. It will require forward-thinking policies, more tolerant communities (willing to increase their share of low-income housing), and more funding.
We must continue to dig ourselves out of the mess of the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, which led to millions of foreclosures and continues to this day. This requires a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a Department of Housing and Urban Development that lives up to its mandate, and a Congress and President that create laws to protect people, not banks and corporations.
We must also acknowledge the legacy of many decades of official discrimination in housing policy (known as “red-lining”) that has institutionalized segregation and relegated far too many communities of color to generations of poverty and exclusion. The government at all levels must work with these communities to improve their quality of life while at the same time instituting policies to defend against gentrification, which results in displacement of longstanding communities, especially communities of color.
As a member of Congress, I will work to:
Fight policies that lead to gentrification.
Protect Rental Assistance programs.
Expand the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund
Restore federal funding for affordable housing construction programs.
Defend and strengthen the Fair Housing Act to fight discrimination.
Fund much-needed repairs to public housing.
Raise the minimum wage and establish a universal basic income, both of which would dramatically decrease housing insecurity.
Expand first-time homebuyer programs.
Stop predatory lending practices.
Protect mortgage interest deductions in the tax code.
Restore property tax deduction limits to previous levels, because too many New Jersey residents are choosing to leave the state due largely to high property taxes.
Support Bernie Sanders’ legislation to reinvigorate the HARP program (Home Affordable Refinance Program) which allows homeowners underwater on their mortgage to refinance at lower rates.
Increase funding for homelessness prevention and outreach programs.