Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker unveiled a housing plan Wednesday to address an “affordability crisis” in the US, shining a national spotlight on an issue that has been at the center of his political identity for more than two decades.
“Making sure all Americans have the right to good housing is very personal to me,” the New Jersey Democrat said. “I’m determined to tear down the barriers that stand in the way of every American being able to do for their families what my parents did for mine.”
Booker’s plan, modeled after legislation he previously introduced in the Senate, focuses on a renters’ credit that he says would lift 9.4 million people out of poverty. In that regard, his proposal is similar to a plan by his 2020 rival Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who has centered her own housing policy on a subsidy for low-income renters.
But Booker’s blueprint goes further than Harris’, with sweeping changes to restrictive zoning laws, coupled with federal incentives to build more affordable housing. Advocates have called for such changes in cities like Los Angeles, where homelessness has spiked sharply amid rising housing demand and prices.
Booker would also expand the right to counsel for low-income tenants fighting eviction, while targeting discriminatory and predatory housing market practices, and funding grants to combat homelessness.