AOC and Bernie Sanders Unveil Green New Deal for Public Housing Act

AOC and Bernie Sanders Unveil Green New Deal for Public Housing Act

(Photo by Jaime Green | The Wichita Eagle | AP)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Rep. Delia Ramirez (IL-03) reintroduced the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act today, taking a significant step toward addressing the intertwined crises of climate change and affordable housing.

The law was created in partnership with public housing inhabitants, affordable housing advocates, climate change campaigners, and unions, and seeks to modernize the nation’s public housing stock, ensuring that it is both environmentally sustainable and safe for its people. The bill is expected to cost between $162 and $234 billion over the next decade and promises a greener, fairer future for millions of Americans.

Years of neglect and disinvestment have left much of the country’s public housing in disrepair, with problems such as mold development, lead-based paint risks, insufficient heating and cooling systems, and deteriorating water infrastructure. This legislation attempts to solve these long-standing challenges while also addressing the critical need to tackle climate change.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez emphasized the urgent need for comprehensive, public solutions, stating, “Every American deserves to live in a safe, vibrant, and environmentally conscious community — including public housing residents. I am confident this legislation is how we make that a reality.”

Senator Sanders echoed these sentiments, highlighting the unacceptable reality of homelessness and housing insecurity in the wealthiest nation on earth. “It is unacceptable that our nation’s public housing is in a state of chronic disrepair and energy inefficiency after generations of government neglect,” he remarked. “This legislation is a major step in the right direction.”

Congresswoman Ramirez emphasized the human rights aspect of the legislation, asserting, “Safe, sustainable, resilient, affordable housing is a HUMAN RIGHT, plain and simple.”

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act proposes a comprehensive approach to transforming the nation’s public housing stock. Key provisions of the bill include.

1. Retrofitting and decarbonizing all public housing units to make them zero-carbon, highly energy-efficient developments.

2. Expanding federal programs to provide residents with meaningful work opportunities, financial independence, and a voice in the management of public housing.

3. Replenishing the public housing capital backlog and repealing the Faircloth Amendment, which limits the construction of new public housing developments.

4. Creating grant programs to modernize public housing through deep energy retrofits, workforce development initiatives, renewable energy generation, and community resiliency projects.

The revival of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act has received considerable support from a variety of groups and parties. Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, praised the bill for taking an innovative approach to conserving and renovating public housing while generating opportunities for low-income people.

Paul Wallace, Maintenance Technician and President of AFSCME Local 647 emphasized the importance of the legislation in addressing the needs of working families and low-income renters, stating, “We support it creating new high road jobs and strengthening jobs programs, helping with tenant initiatives, job training, and apprenticeships.”Analilia Mejia and DaMareo Cooper, Co-Executive Directors of the Center for Popular Democracy Action, praised the bill for its potential to create quality jobs and build green social housing for the future.

Jasmin Sanchez, a climate organizer and resident of the New York City Housing Authority, underscored the importance of addressing the capital backlog in public housing, stating, “The Green New Deal for Public Housing creates a necessary pathway to allocate money to address the capital backlog in public housing.”

The endorsements of organizations like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Sunrise Movement, National Wildlife Federation, and many others reflect the broad support for the legislation among advocates for housing justice, climate action, and social equity.

In addition to congressional backing, the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act has received endorsements from a variety of organizations, including labor unions, environmental groups, housing activists, and grassroots organizations. These endorsements highlight the critical need for strong, revolutionary action to solve the interlinked challenges of climate change, housing insecurity, and economic injustice.

The reintroduction of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act allows politicians to emphasize the needs of the most vulnerable communities while pursuing solutions that benefit society. This measure takes a big step toward a more just and equitable future for all Americans by investing in long-term, affordable housing and establishing decent job opportunities.

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