Sen. Sanders, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Introduce Public Housing Legislation

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently introduced the “Green New Deal for Public Housing Act.” The legislation aims to retrofit, rehabilitate, and decarbonize the entire nation’s public housing stock. It would invest up to $180 billion over 10 years in sustainable retrofits that include all needed repairs and eliminate carbon emissions in federal public housing. The legislation would also provide funding to electrify all buildings, add solar panels, and secure renewable energy sources for all public housing energy needs.

The bill would create seven new grant programs that public housing agencies, tribes or tribally designated housing entities, and Native Hawaiian housing entities can apply for under a single application. Some grants focus on workforce development while others address building and unit upgrades such has energy-efficient windows, improved insulation, pipe replacement to improve water quality, and new appliances. Grant programs would also facilitate community energy generation in public housing to make public housing energy self-sufficient and empower residents to vote to determine how to utilize any profits.

The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and endorsed by more than 50 organizations.