Presidential candidate Michael Bennet today joined the slate of 2020 democratic hopefuls with detailed housing plans.
The Colorado Senator’s plan looks to build more affordable housing near good jobs, help middle-class families rent or purchase a home and reform housing tax incentives on the federal level. Over half of the current democratic candidates campaign for affordable housing overhauls, but Bennet said his background as a former educator sets his strategy apart.
“As a former superintendent, I know how important it is for kids to have a stable home so they can show up to school ready to learn and succeed. Slogans like national rent control won’t solve the problem,” said Bennet. “We need to build more homes near good jobs and good schools and ensure people can actually afford them. That’s the bottom line for creating opportunity for all Americans.”
While affordable housing strategies traditionally benefit those making the lowest of area median income levels, the bulk of Bennet’s strategy looks to help middle-class families afford homes.
His administration would aid in helping the group afford homes by expanding credits for small mortgages through a loan fund and better appraisals, providing downpayment assistance and fully funding opportunity vouchers.
The plan is released as housing pain is encompassing more in the middle class. Workers in four of the top ten occupations cannot afford the area’s median rent without sharing costs with another worker, according to data collected by Capital Crossroads, a group that looks at regional issues affecting central Iowa, with over 58,000 households in need of more affordable housing.
Polk County Housing Trust Fund executive director Eric Burmeister told Starting Line in September that the most realistic housing strategy for the Des Moines area would be one that includes growing middle-class numbers needing affordable housing.
“The housing strategy that is most realistic and achievable are the strategies that answer the concerns of that new stata of folks that are concerned. They are the ones that have the most power and allies,” Burmeister said.
Bennet’s team said his plan sets him apart from other candidates because it’s comprehensive, not one-size-fits-all.
Burmeister also said the city of Des Moines would benefit best from a plan uniquely crafted for the city’s specific needs.
Bennet’s plan also suggests reforming federal housing tax incentives by supporting renters and homeowners instead of subsidizing high-income taxpayers to build even larger homes.
“A home is a platform for stability and upward mobility in America, but for too many families, owning a home is out of reach and the high cost of paying rent has pushed them to a breaking point,” said Bennet.
by Isabella Murray