Ten Democratic Presidential hopefuls took the stage at the last Democratic Debate last week, and none mentioned one of the biggest issues facing the nation—the shortage of affordable homes.
In a commentary in City Lab, Diane Yentel, President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to the lowest-income renters. She added that rents have grown faster than renters’ incomes over the past two two decades, and more people are renting than ever.
Yentel added that the topic’s absence from the debate is alarming due to a recent survey that found 60% of people say housing affordability is a “serious problem” where they live, which up 21 points from 2016. Additionally, more than 60% have made at least one sacrifice in the past three years—cutting back on food, healthcare, or activities for their children—to pay rent.
“Eighty-five percent of people in America believe ensuring everyone has a safe, accessible and affordable home should be a top national priority, and 8 in 10 voters want major action from Congress and the White House,” Yentel said in her piece.
She added that while 11 candidates have released a plan to address affordable housing, voters want to hear candidates discuss their plans.
Of those candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), debuted his $2.5 trillion housing policy over the weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to The New York Times. The Times reports that Sanders’ plan would end homelessness and limiting rent increases across the country by imposing a national rent control standard.
Sanders, according to the report, said that over the next decade his plan would extend public policy, increase the availability of affordable housing, and cap annual rent increases at more than one-and-a-half times the rate of inflation or 3%.
“We have an affordable housing crisis in Nevada, in Vermont and all over this country that must be addressed,” Sanders told the audience in Las Vegas. “For too long, this is one of those issues that we just don’t talk about.”