HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT
We believe that housing is a human RIGHT. No one should ever be priced out of their homes or not be able to afford to have a roof over their head. According to the Housing and Urban Development, an estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.
In our District, rent ranges from $2,000 a month, all the way up to $4,000 a month with the median gross rent of $3,700 a month. In addition, the average monthly mortgage payment in our District is around $2,200 and the median value of a house is over $500,000. All while the median household income for a household of 3 is about $38,000. This growing disparity between the rich and the poor only proves once again, that those who have money can move into places like Los Angeles, rent or live in new homes or luxury apartment complexes, drive up prices, and displace those who have been living here their entire lives.
Gentrification is one of the major issues among constituents here in District 34. Most of these major developments are being approved by our Democratic elected officials without regard to the community in which they're being developed in addition, these Democratic elected officials are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from these large developers. It is time to make Housing a Human RIGHT, stopping Gentrification, and enacting Universal Rent Control.
AFFORDABLE & LOW-INCOME HOUSING
We will work to expand to expand the National Affordable Housing Trust which was created by Bernie Sanders to set aside funds to go towards affordable housing projects for low to extremely low income households. These funds would enable state and local governments to build millions of affordable housing units and also create jobs in the process.
We will work with Federal and Local government to negotiate with structural developers to develop affordable housing units. We'd fight for legislation where new apartment complexes have to ensure 20% of the units are for Affordable Housing (where rent is 30% or less of the area median income) and 30% of the units are for low income housing (where rent is more than 30% of the area median income).
We will work to provide federal subsidies for affordable housing developers who develop ONLY 100% units for affordable housing especially for low to extremely low income households.
We will also work to encourage more infill housing where local governments can utilize existing land or buildings, such as abandoned property-undeveloped property to be used for public and affordable housing.
We will also work to end speculation buying coupled with vacancy for long periods of time just for the purpose of making short or long-term profits when that land could be used to address the shortage of affordable housing.
Like Green Party Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, we would encourage the President to use the Department of Housing and Urban Development to grant or withhold funds in order to encourage state and local governments to take positive steps to desegregate housing, including ending zoning laws that effectively prohibit multi-family housing, prohibiting landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers, increasing Section 8 voucher amounts so that poor people can move into middle income neighborhoods, and building new public housing in middle income communities that is high quality and mixed income.
WE will work to increase funding for Public Housing. Currently, only 1.2 million households live in public housing and are only limited to low-income families and individuals, which is a very small number needed in a time where people can't afford a place to live. In addition, there is a stigma in America about Public Housing because it gives people images of overcrowding and poor living conditions and that is the failure of our government officials who give the state and local officials too much control and say in how much federal funding they should receive, where to build public housing, how to preserve decent living conditions, and who gets to live in public housing. However, Public Housing in cities like Vienna and countries like Sweden have been successful because they understand the growing populations and the need for an affordable place to live while in America we allow developers to squeeze every dollar out of us just so they can make a profit. Success in Vienna and countries like Sweden are the result of 1) having adequate funding for the need of public housing and 2) encouraging mixed-class tenancy. For mixed-class tenancy, priority still goes to low-income families, BUT if they are able to get back up on their feet with a job, they can still live there. In addition, when low-to-middle income families leave Public Housing, their governments actually help them find a new living place through a complex arrangement of land sales, loans and low-cost developments.
WE will work with Federal, State, and Local Governments so that developers must get approval from neighborhood councils and the community, not from their local government, in order to build new buildings, apartment complexes, and retail spaces that have the potential for the harmful effects of gentrification. If developers come in and displace members of the community, the government or developers must make those displaced “whole” as if they never were displaced by providing subsidies or vouchers to help pay for the cost of relocation and rent or cost of their new living place for the next 5 years. Gentrification in Los Angeles is a real issue and most of those affected are communities of color (mainly Latinx) that have lived there their entire lives only to be displaced because profits matter over people.
UNIVERSAL RENT CONTROL
We will work to ensure that Universal Rent Control is in place to make sure that no rent increases are more than 3% a year. It's very scary knowing your rent might increase 10-50% next year because the existing landlord sold the apartment complex to a new developer or a new developer is building a new luxury apartment just a block over forcing the existing landlord to compete by raising prices.
We will work to impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. We will also work to stop illegal evictions of tenants especially under the threat of cash for keys where landlords threaten the tenant to "leave or else they will be removed under the law", and will usually offer cash to the tenant to leave. We will also work to restrict eviction for long-term tenants including the elderly and disabled. We will work to catch land lords who refuse to maintain their properties in habitable condition, or who engage in illegal evictions, with hefty fines and, in extreme cases, jail terms.
Like the Green Party, we will work to guarantee tenant's rights, including: freedom from harassment and evictions without just cause; well-enforced habitability standards; strong anti-discrimination enforcement, including family protection laws and domestic partnerships; continuation of established services and amenities; the right to reasonable guest visitation; maintenance of roommate privileges; and the right to communicate with other tenants about conditions or circumstances in their buildings. We will also work to fund public and non-profit tenant-related counseling and legal assistance for renters.
We will work to provide financial assistance for first-time homeowners especially when it comes to acquiring a new loan, putting down down-payments, or any other type of payment assistance. We will also ensure that credit score reform is underway as the average credit score needed to borrow money from creditors is around 740 when it used to be in the 600s. Those who took a hit during the housing crisis in 2008 have also had their credit scores effected negatively. We will also work to provide financial assistance and refinancing for homeowners who still owe more in interest than the principal of their homes. It is extremely discouraging to not fully own a house and know that as time has gone by, you're still paying down the interest.