To the editor:
Last week, Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveiled a Green New Deal for Public Housing Act that would eliminate carbon emissions from federal housing, invest in retrofitting and repairs, and create nearly 250,000 decent-paying union jobs per year.
The bill would also repeal the Faircloth Amendment passed in 1999. The amendment limits the construction of new public housing developments. It says that HUD cannot fund the construction or operation of new public housing units if the construction of those units would result in a net increase in the number of units the public housing authority owns.
The U.S. population between 1999 and 2019 rose by 51 million. And the number of people living in poverty went from 31.6 million in 1999 to 46.7 in 2014 — almost a 50% jump. Any wonder why so many people are waiting for Section 8 housing or a place in public housing?
Most of the public housing in Massachusetts for seniors and the disabled is state funded. Massachusetts is unique for that. But we can’t just rely on the states or private developers to create more truly affordable housing. We need to start thinking like it’s 1937 when they passed The Housing Act or the 1960s when HUD began providing subsidies.
I live at Morency Manor in Salem. Lord knows where I’d be in it wasn’t for elderly housing. The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act is good public policy.