1. The United States is losing an average of 125,000 affordable housing units every year and 11 million families are struggling to pay their rent. What specific steps would you take to make housing affordable for Americans?
As part of my Power to the People plan I intend to refashion our housing industry to generate affordable housing, put people to work, end homelessness, and solve America’s affordable housing crisis. There is no excuse for homelessness and poverty in the richest country on earth.
I intend to expand rental and home ownership assistance, and vastly expand our supply of public housing, non-profit housing, and housing owned by residents as limited equity cooperatives. I intend to preserve existing affordable housing by an immediate halt to foreclosures and evictions, and the enactment of strict anti-displacement laws protecting the rights of renters to live in their chosen communities. Properly locating new affordable units has the added benefit of allowing people to live near where they work, avoiding environmentally degrading and soul-crushing commutes.
2. Immigration reform has been much debated during this election cycle. What is your intended policy and how, if at all, does it intersect with employment and terrorism concerns?
I support comprehensive immigration reform to repair our broken immigration system, including a welcoming path to citizenship. We must respect everyone’s human rights and end the bipartisan war on immigrants that is dividing our people and endangering whole communities with mass deportation, incarceration, and the cruel separation of families.
Our jobs shortfall will not be solved by blocking immigrants from entering the workforce. Jobs will be created when workers come together to demand economic justice and to support public works projects to rebuild our cities, our infrastructure, and to make the transition to renewable energy.
Contrary to the rhetoric from major party candidates, terrorism cannot be addressed by anti-immigrant policies. Terrorism can be addressed by ending our overseas wars and indiscriminate arms sales and consistently supporting human rights and self-development for all peoples of the world.
3. Of the 324 million people living in the United States, nearly 50 million live below the poverty line and one tenth of them (more than 500,000) were found to be living outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program this year. What specific steps will you take to help house that 1.5% of Americans and provide pathways to more stable and secure lifestyles for the other 49.5 million in poverty?
Almost 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for the “total, direct, and immediate abolition of poverty.” Sadly that vision has never been realized, as both Democratic and Republican administrations have chosen to follow the economic prescriptions of Wall Street rather than those of the great moral leaders in our nation’s history.
An economic bill of rights is the cornerstone of my Power to the People Plan. I will propose and implement legislation to end poverty immediately, by guaranteeing affordable access to food, water, housing, utilities, and effective anti-poverty programs. I will call for creation of living wage jobs for every American who needs work, by transitioning to 100% renewable energy and investing in housing, public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation. I will call for health care, education, and racial justice as human rights.
4. Street Sense is a self empowerment program to help people experiencing homelessness. Anyone can attend a twice weekly orientation program and, upon completing it successfully, begin managing their own sales of our newspaper. How would you support more programs that allow people to build skills and get back to Work?
My Power to the People Plan calls for direct government action to ensure that there is a job for everyone who wants to work. To this end I would provide government support for worker and community cooperatives and small community-building businesses such as Street Sense. I will prioritize the creation of enterprises that serve real community needs and offer meaningful jobs in the locations where they are most needed.
Organizations like Street Sense are indispensable to this process. You reach out to people abandoned by the worker-exploitation economy and offer them an opportunity to contribute to building a better society for themselves and others. This is the essence of what our campaign is all about.