Rep. Ilhan Omar unveils $1 trillion affordable housing program proposal

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks at a rally hosted by Progressive Democrats of America on Capitol Hill on September 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced yesterday the beginning of a formal impeachment inquiry agai ( Zach Gibson )

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed a $1 trillion affordable housing act Thursday.

The “Homes for All Act” will invest $800 billion over 10 years and invest an additional $200 billion in a Housing Trust Fund, according to a release from the congresswoman. 

In all, the bill aims to create 8.5 million new units of public housing with the $800 billion and 3.5 million private, permanent affordable housing projects for low-income families with the trust fund money.

The act repeals the Faircloth Amendment, which will allow the federal government to invest in new public housing for the first time since the 1990s.

Omar’s office noted the bill will make public housing expenses mandatory in order to “prevent future investment bias.”

“Making this spending mandatory ensures that the funding needs of all current and future public housing are fully met and cannot be cut in the event of a budget crisis or a change in Administration,” reads the release. Omar compared the mandatory spending to that of Social Security and Medicare.

In addition to the housing spending, the bill also creates a “Community Control and Anti-Displacement Fund” within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Over 10 years, the fund will be given $200 billion to help protect families from gentrification, which Omar hopes will stabilize neighborhoods. To do so, local governments will be able to apply for grants that will help re-house displaced people, regulate exploitative developers and bolster tenants’ rights.

In a statement Omar said the following about the proposed act:

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. Across the nation, families are struggling with homelessness and housing insecurity. We need to treat the affordable housing shortage like the crisis that it is. Housing is a fundamental human right. It’s time we as a nation acted like it and end the housing crisis once and for all.