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Ilhan Omar's Homes for All Act: 'No one in the world's wealthiest country should sleep on the streets'

The Minnesota Representative's bill is a radical, transformative legislation that would ensure stable housing for the most marginalized.

Ilhan Omar's Homes for All Act: 'No one in the world's wealthiest country should sleep on the streets'
Image Source: Rep. Ilhan Omar Holds Press Conference And Rally At Site Of Daunte Wright Shooting. BROOKLYN CENTER, MN - APRIL 20. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

A moratorium period on rental evictions was set to expire earlier this month. However, after week-long agitations by progressive members of Congress, the moratorium period was extended. As the global pandemic continues, it is evident that the extension is but a stop-gap measure to help those most marginalized by the economic impact of the public health crisis. In order to ensure housing security across the United States, Representative Ilhan Omar introduced the Housing for All Act in 2019. The longer the pandemic continues, the more imperative it will become to pass the bill. "The eviction moratorium is a good and necessary stopgap for renters who are in danger of losing their homes, but it does nothing for those who never had one," Omar posted on Twitter Wednesday. "The only long-term solution to homelessness is simple: give people homes. My Homes for All bill does just that."



 

If passed, the Housing for All Act would dramatically expand the public housing stock in the United States and guarantee housing as a human right. As per the bill, 12 million new public housing and private, permanently affordable rental units will be constructed across the United States. This is expected to drive down costs throughout the market, ultimately creating a new vision of what public housing looks like in the country. Minnesota Representative Omar affirmed when unveiling the bill, "Every American deserves access to a safe and stable place to live, but unfortunately, our current free-market housing system is not meeting the needs of working families. On a single night, over 10,000 people in Minnesota were homeless last year—the highest number ever recorded. 6,000 of them were youth – which means children are showing up at school without a place to go home to. And this does not include the thousands more who are behind on rent, or are looking for a permanent home after an eviction. And that’s just Minnesota."



 

This is the situation across the United States. Hence, the bill makes several changes to the nation's existing housing policy. For instance, it will repeal the Faircloth amendment, allowing the federal government to begin reinvesting in new public housing for the first time since the 1990s. The bill will mandate an $800 billion expenditure over the course of 10 years to build 8.5 million new units of public housing. Additionally, the bill calls for the investment of $200 billion in the Housing Trust Fund so as to help local communities build 3.5 million new private, permanent affordable housing projects for low and extremely low-income families.



 

Notably, the bill makes public housing operating and capital expenses mandatory spending in order to prevent future investment bias. This ensures that the funding needs of all current and future public housing are fully met and cannot be cut, even in the event of a budget crisis or a change in administration. Lastly, the Housing for All Act creates a new "Community Control and Anti-Displacement Fund," which appropriates $200 billion over 10 years for the purpose of intervening to protect families from gentrification, prevent displacement, and stabilize neighborhoods.



 

Michela Zonta, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, affirmed, "The Homes for All Act sets a bold marker for what it would take to ensure millions of Americans have a safe, affordable place to call home. I commend Rep. Ilhan Omar for introducing this bill which will be life-changing for millions of families." So far, the bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives and is currently awaiting further action.



 

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