Congressional Democrats Propose to Invest $70B in Public Housing
House Democratic Policy & Communications Committee Co-Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh recently introduced “A Better Deal for Public Housing & Ladders of Opportunity for American Families,” a comprehensive plan to address the public housing crisis in America. A Better Deal for Public Housing specifically does the following:
Repair America’s aging public housing. The plan proposes to invest $6 billion a year over the next five years to effectively eliminate the deferred maintenance needs in public housing. In addition, the plan provides the necessary $9 billion a year in ongoing operations and maintenance funding needed to modernize these developments and ensure that they never again fall into a state of disrepair. The plan will also provide the resources necessary to eliminate all major lead and mold hazards, reduce costs by making developments energy efficient, and retrofit units to make them accessible for residents with disabilities.
Empower residents to fully participate in and benefit from the revitalization process. The plan provides for the active involvement and participation of public housing residents through all aspects of the revitalization process. This will ensure that public housing serves its intended purpose of improving the lives of residents and sustaining these assets well into the future. The plan also increases tenant protections in the residents’ relocation process and guarantees a right to return to redeveloped units.
Ensure public housing agencies have the tools to connect residents to opportunity. The plan includes resources and the tools that help residents identify and access new rungs on the ladder of opportunity. Specifically, this plan will improve employment opportunities, earnings potential, and health outcomes for public housing residents by investing in: job counseling and training services; educational attainment programs; after-school enrichment programs for low-income families; and access to other vital community services. The plan also narrows the digital divide by expanding access to quality high-speed broadband, which is currently absent in approximately 59.2 percent of public housing households.
Provide comprehensive solutions for the communities surrounding public housing. The plan also seeks to lift up the communities surrounding public housing as well. Therefore, these lawmakers are calling for a $2 billion annual investment in the Choice Neighborhoods program to rehabilitate and transform the most severely distressed neighborhoods across the country, while capitalizing on private resources to foster even deeper community investment and development.