But since then, at least the Democrats have stepped up, somewhat. Though they haven't made them central to their campaign, Clinton and Sanders have each released affordable housing platforms, and heading into today's New York state primary contest, each of them made visits to public housing in New York City.
Hillary released a housing platform first, shortly after Shaw's post in February, in fact. Sanders released his this week, and described it in an op-ed in the Daily News. (Final word to the voters before a contested primary—on housing? Pinch me!)
They have many similarities—both speak of downpayment assistance, pre-purchase counseling, credit score reform, and support for the Consumer Finance Protection Board and fair housing.
Though their tones are similar, they differ in some of what they highlight as priorities as well.
Clinton's platform, meanwhile, specifically commits to increasing the Low IncomeHousing Tax Credit and supporting programs like Choice Neighborhoods to direct resources into “high-poverty neighborhoods,” and includes discussion of an anti-blight agenda. It promises to try to improve the mobility options of those with vouchers, and to “ease local barriers” through “land use strategies” that encourage development of rental housing near jobs.
After Clinton released her platform, Enterprise Community Partners noted that Clinton's platform hits many of their federal policy goals, with the notable exception of increasing federal rental assistance, which Sanders' platform does include.
(Clinton also includes provisions on job creation and infrastructure spending under the same heading as housing, while Sanders has long had extensive proposals on those laid out separately, though he does note in his housing platform that a $15 minimum wage would be a blow against housing unaffordability.)
Both platforms have many generalities and a few specifics—it's clear that neither candidate is a housing wonk, but that each one did devote staff time to trying to understand the issue well enough to make a serious plan on the issue. This could be seen as one of the bright spots in this campaign season.
Maybe the creative efforts to raise the profile of these issues that we wrote about during the last election cycle have finally borne fruit? Or maybe the housing crisis has just gotten that bad? In any case, it's good to have candidates who are paying attention.
(Photo credit: flickr, CC0 1.0)
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