Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Housing Policy Ideas from the Presidential Platforms: Housing for Special Populations

This post continues a review of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates housing policies.  The full review I conducted is available on SSRN here.  Today, I excerpt a portion of the review that looks at housing policies geared at special populations, which are summarized below:  

Disabled housing.  In addition to the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, platforms made note of several housing issues related to disabilities.  This included the need to enforce the Olmstead Decision (Sanders).  Enforcement of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act was also mentioned (Sanders).  Others pledged to use the three major affordable housing funding sources—LIHTC, the National Housing Trust Fund, and the Capital Magnet Fund—to focus on constructing affordable housing for the disabled (Castro).  In addition, it was suggested that the disabled should always have priority for occupying affordable units designated for those with disabilities (Castro).

Senior housing.  Senior affordable housing was addressed in several ways.  This included a proposal to regulate reverse mortgages (Klobuchar) and created an up-to-$6,000 tax credit for retrofitting an existing home for senior living (Klobuchar).  Retrofitting existing affordable rental housing for seniors was also mentioned as a priority (Klobuchar).

Student housing.  Several candidates proposed increasing Pell Grants, which can be used for student housing (Klobuchar, Castro).  One proposal would raise the Pell Grant maximum to $12,000 per year and expanding eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year (Klobuchar).  Microgrant programs that would help students cover rent or other necessary expenses were also proposed (Klobuchar), as was increasing student accessibility to existing affordable housing units and building new affordable units near campuses (Klobuchar).  In addition, McKinney-Vento funds, which typically focus on homelessness, were proposed for expansion to support housing-insecure students (Castro).

Domestic violence.  Eviction protection for victims of domestic violence was proposed (Sanders), as was stepped up enforcement of Violence Against Women’s Act and its 2016 amendments (Steyer, Castro).

Other proposals.  Increased funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Trafficking Prevention Act to ensure transitional living programs, particularly for youth who are aging out of the foster system, was proposed (O’Rourke).  Victims of trafficking (Steyer) and creative sector workers (Hickenlooper) were also noted as populations worthy of further housing policy consideration.


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