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We at MHCH are convinced that because the outcome of this election will significantly impact our nation’s housing crisis, we need know where candidates stand on affordable housing. While MHCH is nonpartisan and doesn’t endorse a candidate, we believe that voters need to know the facts and decide for themselves who is best qualified and able to address our nation’s housing and homelessness crisis.
Trump on Affordable Housing
President Trump has cut HUD funding each year and intends to cut it even more in 2021, if reelected. President Trump’s and HUD secretary Ben Carson’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request proposes to drastically cut housing benefits that help millions of low-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals afford their homes. Overall, the administration proposes to cut HUD by an astounding $8.6 billion or 15% below 2020 enacted levels, not including those cuts offset by increased FHA receipts. See https://nlihc.org/resource/analysis-president-trumps-fy-2021-budget-request
Trump appointed Ben Carson to head HUD, a surgeon with no experience in housing policy who is not only unqualified for this position, he is also philosophically opposed to affordable housing and other government programs intended to help reduce poverty. Carson has tried to eliminate a number of HUD programs in their entirety, including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the Public Housing Capital Fund, HOME Grants, housing vouchers for veterans, housing block grants for Native Americans, and the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, among others. Programs that weren’t cut entirely were slated for massive cuts, including chronically underfunded housing vouchers and the Public Housing Operating Fund. These programs are designed to either build, maintain, or revitalize affordable housing for low-income families. Fortunately for those families, Congress rejected all four of these budget proposals.https://www.curbed.com/2020/8/17/21372168/ben-carson-hud-housing-trump
With much fanfare, Trump rolled back the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, falsely claiming that affordable housing leads to crime and deterioration of property values. The Obama-era update to a decades-old federal requirement aimed to eliminate discrimination and combat segregation in housing. https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/03/politics/fact-check-trump-low-income-housing-suburbs-crime/index.html
Biden on Affordable Housing
(The opinions expressed here are those of Shelterforce, not necessarily MHCH.)
Joe Biden has proposed an ambitious housing platform to spend upward of $640 billion to increase federal funding for the construction and maintenance of public housing, and access to Housing Choice Vouchers and other rental assistance. His plan would also expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, bolster the Fair Housing Act, and more.
Biden wants to bolster the Housing Trust Fund by $20 billion to construct low-income housing, make Housing Choice Vouchers an entitlement (meaning they would reach everyone who is eligible, instead of the current 1 in 4), allocate $5 billion a year for a renters’ tax credit, expand LIHTC and Community Development Block Grants by $10 billion each, invest $13 billion to address homelessness, and more.
How would Trump or Biden approach housing and homelessness?
By MICHAEL FINNEGAN STAFF WRITER for LA TIMES, AUG. 17, 2020
Even before the coronavirus crisis hit, cities across the nation were confronting a historic surge in homelessness as hundreds of thousands of Americans found themselves unable to afford rising rents.
Now, some of the millions who lost their jobs as businesses shut down to slow the contagion are in danger of eviction or foreclosure. Regardless of whether Congress and President Trump agree on a new relief package, the housing crisis is sure to remain severe in the months ahead.
In the primaries, former Vice President Joe Biden and his Democratic rivals released sweeping and costly housing proposals reflecting heightened voter concern about higher rents and the spread of homelessness, especially on the West Coast.
Trump’s signature housing initiative has been the repeal of a rule requiring communities to build low-cost units in neighborhoods where it can relieve racial segregation in housing. The rule, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” was issued under President Obama to enforce the Fair Housing Act, one of the landmark civil rights laws of the 1960s.
“I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood,” Trump tweeted in July. “Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down.”
Biden has promised to reinstate the fair housing rule scrapped by Trump.
He has also pledged a sharp increase in Section 8 rent subsidies to ensure they’re available to all Americans whose income is low enough to qualify. He would allocate $5 billion for a tax credit to ensure that no family that is eligible for the subsidies would have to spend more than 30% of the household’s income on rent.
Biden would establish a $100-billion affordable housing fund to finance the upgrading of housing for low-income Americans. He vowed to put $10 billion into tax incentives that encourage developers to build affordable housing in communities that need it the most.
Biden would also condition federal grants to localities on the elimination of zoning restrictions that limit development near public-transit centers or encourage suburban sprawl.
Biden has pledged $13 billion in spending to combat homelessness. His criminal justice proposals include a goal of ensuring housing for all formerly incarcerated individuals upon release from prison. https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-17/trump-biden-housing-homelessness-policy
We've all learned during the Covid pandemic about “flattening the curve.” How do we flatten the curve on climate change before it's too late? And what about flattening the curve on that other existential threat to the planet, nuclear war? We don't often talk about inequality as an existential threat, but that curve needs flattening, too.
We have the tools to flatten all these curves, if we just set our minds to it. And, as it turns out, flattening one curve is the best way to flatten the others.
Timmon Wallis and Vicki Elson of NuclearBan.US will talk about their involvement with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Adopted at the UN by 122 countries, the treaty won ICAN that year’s Nobel Peace Prize. NuclearBan.US’s report Warheads to Windmills: How to Pay for a Green New Deal, launched in Congress last year, suggests ways to unify and address the issues of nuclear weapons, climate change and inequality all at once.
Timmon, the Executive Director of NuclearBan.US, holds a PhD in peace studies from Bradford University. He previously was executive director of Nonviolent Peaceforce and has directed peace-building projects in Colombia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Myanmar, Chechnya, the Philippines, South Sudan, and other countries. His new book, Disarming the Nuclear Argument: The Truth About Nuclear Weapons, is a “handbook for those seeking a safer, saner world” that analyzes nuclear weapons’ cost, risk, and legality and the fallacy of “deterrence.”
Vicki, co-founder and Creative Director of NuclearBan.US, is also Executive Director of TreatyAwareness.US. A chapter leader of Represent.US, which fights Big Money in politics (of which nuclear weapons are the most egregious example), she has been a childbirth educator, filmmaker, and labor support “doula” for 35 years. Witnessing the 2017 U.N. negotiations for the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty changed her life, as she watched the roomful of ambassadors break their own rules (no clapping or hugging) when they reached agreement.
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Reflection: Louis Chase
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ICUJP Friday Forum 8/14
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FRIDAY, SEPT 11: Save the date! The Friday Forum will commemorate the 19th anniversary of 9/11. At 5:00 pm, the 2020 George F. Regas Courageous Peacemaker Award will be presented in a special online program. Details coming soon!
AUG 21: Greta Zarro, World Beyond War
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