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Democrats Agree That the Housing Crisis Is a Problem. They Just Don’t Agree on How to Fix It.

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 A sign advertises an apartment for rent along a row of brownstone townhouses in the Fort Greene neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

At a town hall in the Bronx last month, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that housing should be “legislated as a human right.” She touched on topics ranging from federal tax breaks to racial asthma disparities, arguing for a framework to tackle these as related concerns.

“What does that mean?” Ocasio-Cortez asked. “What it means is that our access and our ability and our guarantee to having a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit.”

AOC’s call for a national housing conversation is finding plenty of takers. Earlier this year, three Democratic presidential candidates—Senators Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren—released plans for solving the housing crisis. Another 2020 hopeful, former United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, unveiled his housing platform last week.

There’s never been a bigger opportunity to press for solutions, according to Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “It’s unlike anything any of us who have been working in this field for decades have seen before,” Yentel says. “Just in these first early months of the election season, we’ve already seen more attention on affordable housing policy than, I think, in entire presidential campaigns in history.”

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