Bernie Sanders and AOC Champion ‘Green New Deal’ Legislation Aimed at Affordable Housing

Backed by dozens of progressive groups and congressional Democrats, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday reintroduced legislation designed to tackle both the affordable housing crisis and the climate emergency.

The New York Democrat and Vermont Independent are leading the renewed fight for the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which would invest up to $234 billion over a decade into “weatherizing, electrifying, and modernizing our public housing so that it may serve as a model of efficiency, sustainability, and resiliency for the rest of the nation.”

Ocasio-Cortez noted that “years of grassroots organizing on behalf of vulnerable Americans led to the creation of the first federal public housing units—but, for decades, the federal government has allowed our limited public housing stock to fall into disrepair.”

“Residents are dealing with mold growth, lead-based paint hazards, lack of central cooling and heating, failing water infrastructure, and numerous other safety concerns,” the congresswoman said. “It is beyond time for the federal government to take responsibility and pass legislation that offers comprehensive, public solutions.”

“The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will allow for an increase in public housing units, create an estimated 280,000 jobs, and invest up to $23 billion a year over 10 years for highly energy-efficient developments,” she explained. “This will produce on-site renewable energy, expand workforce capacity, and focus on community development. 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.”

The jobs estimate comes from an analysis released Thursday by the Climate and Community Project and the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative—which also found that the proposed upgrades to U.S. public housing stock would cut carbon emissions by 5.7 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 1.26 million cars off the road each year.


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Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED.