Jacobin - Public Housing Is Social Housing

Last month, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders reintroduced the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which would enable the spending of a much-needed $230 billion to weatherize, electrify, and repair all public housing.

For over fifty years now, the federal government has grossly neglected and slashed the budget of our nation’s public housing stock. Government programs have actively privatized and demolished public housing. Policymakers, through the “war on drugs,” have subjected public housing residents to racist criminalization and overpolicing.

Public housing remains a critical source of deeply affordable housing for the lowest-income families. Yet, in the midst of growing houselessness, we lose fifteen thousand of these precious homes every year to decay and lack of repair. Instead of allocating direct public funding for affordable housing, we rely on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC), a scheme offering tax breaks to Wall Street investors, which diverts public money toward their profit-skimming. Meanwhile, policymakers’ decisions to gut our public housing directly fueled the explosion of mass homelessness we’ve seen across the United States since the 1980s.

“Blackstone and corporate landlords like them are worsening the housing crisis, as they seek to extract maximum profits for their investors. We need to stop allowing these big corporate landlords to buy up our neighborhoods,” says Amy Schur, campaign director of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. “Instead, we should publicly fund housing that is off the private, speculative market.”

To read the full story click here.