At a town hall hosted by Housing Justice for All in Bronx, N.Y., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) spoke to housing advocates and declared housing as a right.
“We have been conditioned to think that basic rights are a luxury and a privilege when they are not,” Cortez said on Thursday night.
Tenants at the town hall were advocating for a package of housing bills that could implement universal rent control in New York state.
Part of Ocasio-Cortez’s plan to make housing a right is to push back on President Trump’s tax breaks, which have disproportionately benefited the wealthy. The Congresswoman said she is planning to re-introduce the Fair Chance at Housing Act in the House, which would lessen restrictions to federally subsidized housing. The act would make it harder for public housing agencies to deny an applicant based on their criminal history.
According to the New York Housing Conference: “The proposed bill would require individualized review of an applicant’s criminal history and the opportunity for each tenant to provide mitigating evidence by public housing agencies (PHAs) and owners of HUD-assisted housing during the tenant screening process. Also, it would restrict which types of criminal activity a housing provider can consider in its screening to convictions that would threaten the health or safety of other tenants, employees, owners of PHAs.”
Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris may bring the same bill up in the upper chamber.
Also at the event, Ocasio-Cortez discussed the importance of the Green New Deal on the ability to access safe apartments, clean air, and nature.
“The environmental piece of this is where the dignity is, and we have to fight for that too,” she said.
Her progressive stance on fair housing is just one of the many reasons why her endorsement is highly sought after by the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates. She has not yet made her candidate of choice public.
Ocasio-Cortez criticized “alt-right” media outlets on Friday over speculation about who she is set to endorse.
Yeah I don’t know why people are suddenly trusting alt-right outlets with “scoops” on who I’m endorsing.
Let’s use our reading skills. Context clues. If they haven’t ever reported about me honestly & in good faith, why would they start now?
I’m not endorsing for some time. https://t.co/PzrsDwBJKd
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 31, 2019
“What I would like to see in a presidential candidate is one that has a coherent worldview and logic from which all these policy proposals are coming forward,” she told CNN in early May. “I think Sen. Sanders has that. I also think Sen. Warren has that.”
Whoever this young lawmaker picks will receive a huge shot in the arm.