HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT

Housing for All

We believe that housing is a human RIGHT.  No one should ever be priced out of their homes or not be able to afford to have a roof over their head. 

The growing disparity between the rich and the poor only proves once again, that those who have money can move into places like the San Fernando Valley, rent or live in new homes or luxury apartment complexes, drive up prices, and displace those who have been living here their entire lives.  Gentrification is one of the major issues among constituents here in CA District 29.  Most of these major developments are being approved by our Democratic elected officials without regard to the community in which they're being developed. In addition, these Democratic elected officials are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from these large developers.  It is time to make Housing a Human RIGHT, stopping Gentrification, and enacting Universal Rent Control.

AFFORDABLE & LOW-INCOME HOUSING
We will work to expand to expand the National Affordable Housing Trust, created by Senator Sanders, to set aside funds to go towards affordable housing projects for low to extremely low income households.  These funds would enable state and local governments to build millions of affordable housing units and also create jobs in the process.  We will work with Federal and Local government to negotiate with structural developers to develop affordable housing units.

 

We will fight for legislation where new apartment complexes have to ensure 20% of the units are for Affordable Housing (where rent is 30% or less of the area median income) and 30% of the units are for low income housing (where rent is more than 30% of the area median income).  We will work to provide federal subsidies for affordable housing developers who develop ONLY 100% units for affordable housing especially for low to extremely low income households.  We will also work to encourage more infill housing where local governments can utilize existing land or buildings, such as abandoned property-undeveloped property to be used for public and affordable housing. 

 

We will also work to end speculation buying coupled with vacancy for long periods of time just for the purpose of making short or long-term profits when that land could be used to address the shortage of affordable housing.  We would encourage the President to use the Department of Housing and Urban Development to grant or withhold funds in order to encourage state and local governments to take positive steps to desegregate housing, including ending zoning laws that effectively prohibit multi-family housing, prohibiting landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers, increasing Section 8 voucher amounts so that poor people can move into middle income neighborhoods, and building new public housing in middle income communities that is high quality and mixed income.

PUBLIC HOUSING
WE will work to increase funding for Public Housing.  Currently, only 1.2 million households live in public housing and are only limited to low-income families and individuals, which is a very small number needed in a time where people can't afford a place to live.  There is a stigma in America about Public Housing rooted from the images of overcrowding and poor living conditions, but this is only the product of the failure of our government officials who give the state and local officials too much control and say in how much federal funding they should receive, where to build public housing, how to preserve decent living conditions, and who gets to live in public housing.  However, Public Housing in cities like Vienna and countries like Sweden have been successful, because they understand the growing populations and the need for an affordable place to live, while in America we lack that foresight and allow developers to squeeze every dollar out of us just so they can make a profit. Successes in Vienna and countries like Sweden are the result of 1) having adequate funding for the need of public housing and 2) encouraging mixed-class tenancy.  For mixed-class tenancy, priority still goes to low-income families, BUT if they are able to get back up on their feet with a job, they can still live there. In addition, when low-to-middle income families leave Public Housing, their governments actually help them find a new living place through a complex arrangement of land sales, loans and low-cost developments.

 

STOPPING DISPLACEMENT AND  GENTRIFICATION
WE will work with Federal, State, and Local Governments to ensure that developers first get approval from neighborhood councils and the community, not from their local government, in order to build new buildings, apartment complexes, and retail spaces that have the potential for the harmful effects of gentrification.  If developers come in and displace members of the community, the government or developers must make those displaced “whole” as if they never were displaced by providing subsidies or vouchers to help pay for the cost of relocation and rent or cost of their new living place for the next 5 years. Gentrification in the San Fernando Valley is a real issue and most of those affected are communities of color (mainly Latinx) that have lived there their entire lives only to be displaced because profits matter over people.

UNIVERSAL RENT CONTROL
We will work to ensure that Universal Rent Control is in place to make sure that no rent increases are more than 3% a year.  It's very scary knowing your rent might increase 10-50% next year because the existing landlord sold the apartment complex to a new developer or a new developer is building a new luxury apartment just a block over forcing the existing landlord to compete by raising prices.

 

STOPPING EVICTIONS
We will work to impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.  We will also work to stop illegal evictions of tenants especially under the threat of cash for keys where landlords threaten the tenant to "leave or else they will be removed under the law", and will usually offer cash to the tenant to leave.  We will also work to restrict eviction for long-term tenants including the elderly and disabled.  We will work to catch land lords who refuse to maintain their properties in habitable condition, or who engage in illegal evictions, with hefty fines and, in extreme cases, jail terms. 

 

TENANTS' RIGHTS
We will work to guarantee tenant's rights, including: freedom from harassment and evictions without just cause; well-enforced habitability standards; strong anti-discrimination enforcement, including family protection laws and domestic partnerships; continuation of established services and amenities; the right to reasonable guest visitation; maintenance of roommate privileges; and the right to communicate with other tenants about conditions or circumstances in their buildings.  We will also work to fund public and non-profit tenant-related counseling and legal assistance for renters. 

 

HOMEOWNER ASSISTANCE
We will work to provide financial assistance for first-time homeowners especially when it comes to acquiring a new loan, putting down-payments, or any other type of payment assistance.  We will also ensure that credit score reform is underway as the average credit score needed to borrow money from creditors is around 740 when it used to be in the 600s.  Those who took a hit during the housing crisis in 2008 have also had their credit scores effected negatively.  We will also work to provide financial assistance and refinancing for homeowners who still owe more in interest than the principal of their homes.  It is extremely discouraging to not fully own a house and know that as time has gone by, you're still paying down the interest. 

Ending Homelessness

HOUSING FIRST
The United States has over 550,000 sleeping on the streets on any given night, with 20% of that number being children.  Close to 60,000 people live on the streets of Los Angeles County, while around 25,000 live in the city of Los Angeles, and up to 7,000 of that number live in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.  It is an embarrassment that as the wealthiest nation on earth, we have some of the highest levels of homelessness among industrialized nations.  We can help and treat the symptoms of homelessness as much as we can but we must tackle the root causes.

 

The #1 cause for homelessness is that people cannot afford a home to live in.  One out of every five families in our District lives in poverty and rent is starting to move up to $1,500 a month, all the way up to $2,500 a month with the median gross rent of $1,200 a month.  In addition, many of those experiencing chronic homelessness are veterans and people with mental illnesses or substance abuse issues. 

 

Housing as a Right, Homeless Programs, and Healthcare Reform go hand-in-hand to prevent and treat homelessness.  There is no one solution to treating homelessness and we must be open in helping those living on the streets, especially the children.

PREVENT HOMELESSNESS: HOUSING AS A RIGHT
The #1 cause for homelessness is not having enough affordable and low-income housing.  As part of our "Housing is a Right" Platform, we will work to build more affordable and low-income housing units, stop gentrification, enact universal rent control of 3% per year, stop illegal evictions, preserve renter's rights, and provide assistance for homeowners (first-time and underwater).  Other ways we can prevent homelessness and fighting poverty in general are increasing the minimum wage to $15 nationally, providing guaranteed healthcare through a single payer system, providing quality public education as a right, and guaranteeing a job for anyone willing to work.

 

END CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS
According to the Housing of Urban Development (HUD), a Chronically Homeless Individual refers to an individual with a disability who has been continuously homeless for 1 year or more or has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last 3 years where the combined length of time homeless in those occasions is at least 12 months.  To end chronic homelessness, we will work to provide more permanent supportive housing units which has proven to be a cost-effective solution (saving over $10,000 per person) to ending chronic homelessness.  Permanent supportive housing is a program designed to provide housing (project and tenant-based) and supportive services on a long-term basis to formerly homeless people.  We would also push to allow the homeless to take part in the decision making process in finding solutions for their short and long-term situations. 

 

FAMILIES, WOMEN, CHILDREN, & VICTIMS
We will work to provide more new rapid re-housing capacity to prevent and end homelessness for families with children.  Rapid Rehousing is a housing model designed to provide temporary housing assistance to people experiencing homelessness, moving them quickly out of homelessness and into permanent housing.  We will also work to provide more Transitional Housing Programs to provide services and housing for homeless victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who require an emergency transfer from their current assisted housing into permanent housing away from their abusers.

 

We will work to create more drop-in centers for unsheltered homeless individuals.  We will work to ensure access to emergency shelters without barriers for families, unaccompanied youth, and women.  We would work to create more Basic Centers for runaway youth that would create temporary emergency shelters, food, clothing and referrals for health care.  In addition, we'd work to provide family counseling, recreation programs, and aftercare services for youth once they leave the shelter.  We will work to build on the Street Outreach Program which provides educational and prevention services to run away and street youth who have been subject to, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation or abuse.  The program works to establish and build relationships between youth and program outreach staff in order to help youth get off the streets.

 

HEALTHCARE FOR THE HOMELESS
We will work to provide Health Care for the Homeless by providing healthcare as a right for anyone and everyone in the United States without bias or discrimination.  This would help the homeless community by providing substance abuse treatment, emergency care/services, and outreach services to assist difficult-to-reach people experiencing homelessness in accessing healthcare.

 

We will work to ensure that drug abuse or mental health issues are not treated criminally but rather with an understanding that rehabilitation is needed.  We will also work to enable communities to expand and strengthen their treatment services for individuals experiencing homelessness with substance abuse disorders, mental illness, or co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental illness.

 

EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING
We will work to provide educational opportunities such as quality public education for high school students and tuition-free public college & university for those wanting to attend college.  In addition, we will work to provide a guaranteed job program for those transitioning out of homelessness and back into the workforce. 

Paid for by Angelica Duenas for Congress 2020 FEC# C00697391