Housing Emerging As A Presidential Campaign Issue

For millions of Americans, housing costs rank with health care, student debt, and taxes when it comes to issues that affect their personal budget.

Unlike those other three, however, housing hasn’t gotten much attention from presidential candidates.

That could be changing. As Democratic hopefuls vie to stand out in a crowded field and appeal to urban voters stressed by rising rents, more candidates are bringing up housing on the campaign trail.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for $500 billion in additional spending on affordable housing, and Senator Kamala Harris’s plan to offer tax credits for renters and $100 billion to help would-be home buyers in redlined neighborhoods. Senator Cory Booker wants to shift more federal transportation spending to cities that build more housing, while Julian Castro — secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former president Barack Obama — says he would dramatically expand voucher programs for low-income renters. Just last week, Senator Amy Klobuchar joined in, rolling out a housing plan with an range of smaller-bore programs, such as using federal funds to encourage local zoning reform, and ensuring that tenants facing eviction have access to a lawyer.