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Two Presidential Candidates, Two Approaches to Housing Policy

The Biden and Trump campaigns are from different worlds on housing policy, according to this analysis.
November 3, 2020, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Lafayette Square
The fence outside the White House at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. pictured on October 31, 2020.
Allison C Bailey

"Whether voters choose a Trump administration or a Biden administration, the next president of the United States could face a daunting 30 to 40 million households at risk for evictions," writes Sadef Ali Kully, citing data from August.

Despite the risks, the presidential campaign of has been defined by a lack of substantive discussion of the looming housing crisis, but the track record and platforms of the candidates reveal more about what might be expected in the case of either winning the election.

In describing Trump's housing policy platform, Kully notes that a presidential career spent weakening fair housing laws in the United States was preceded by a previous career as a developer accused of fair housing violations.

In addition to its actions on fair housing, the Trump administration also introduced a housing finance reform plan in 2016 that "seeks to restructure and release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from federal government conservatorship, which occurred after the 2008 Great Recession," according to Kully.

Among Trump's other related accomplishments, Kullu lists the Opportunity Zones program, which offers tax incentives for investments in designated low-income areas. That program has been dogged by controversy throughout its relatively short existence.

As for Biden, Kully notes the former vice president's time in the U.S. Senate, when he wrote 11 pieces of legislation related to housing and development. Unlike the Trump campaign, the Biden campaign released an official housing plan, focusing on four main goals for housing: "Ending redlining and other discriminatory practices in the housing market, providing financial assistance for tenants and first time homeowners, increasing the housing supply and lowering the costs of quality housing and lastly, a comprehensive plan which will work towards ending homelessness."

Kully provides more details on Biden's housing platform heading into the election:

Biden also supports the Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act of 2020​, which will help tenants facing eviction gain access to legal assistance, similar to New York City’s Right to Counsel program. He plans on enacting legislation to prevent exclusionary zoning by requiring any state receiving federal dollars through the Community Development Block Grants or Surface Transportation Block Grants, paired with an investment of $300 million in ​Local Housing Policy Grants to give local governments technical assistance and planning support.

The list goes on, Biden's housing policy showing as far more robust than Trump's—an angle that should be apparent from the headline of the source article: the two campaigns are on different worlds of housing policy.

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Published on Thursday, October 15, 2020 in CityLimits
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