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Bloomberg unveils plan to boost housing affordability, tackle homelessness

White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg unveiled a plan Thursday that he says would make housing more affordable and tackle homelessness.

The proposal from the former New York City mayor would guarantee rental assistance for extremely low-income Americans and cut homelessness in half by 2025 by doubling federal funding to fight it.

“More and more American families are struggling to pay the rent, and they are getting no help at all from President Trump. The president said that fixing homelessness would be ‘so easy with competence.’ Of course, competence is not his strong suit – but the truth is: he's done nothing to help people who are homeless or build more affordable housing,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

“Our plan includes a major change in rental assistance to guarantee it for those who need it most and ensure, for the first time, that the neediest households do not get stuck on waiting lists. And as we help more Americans make ends meet, we will get to work building the millions of affordable homes we need to address this crisis.”

Bloomberg’s plan calls for guaranteeing housing vouchers for all Americans at or below 30 percent of their area's median income and incentivizing cities to implement effective eviction prevention programs with federal grants. It would also raise the earned income tax credit and increase the child tax credit for low-income Americans.

The proposal would boost federal spending on homelessness from under $3 billion now to $6 billion annually and support programs tackling mental health and substance abuse.

Other facets of the plan include increasing the supply of affordable housing units nationally, strengthening assistance to help people afford down payments for new homes and promoting coordination between the federal government and state and local governments.

Bloomberg rolled out support for his plan from other mayors who have endorsed his campaign.

“Homelessness isn’t just a problem; it’s a symptom. The symptom of unaffordable housing, of income inequality, of institutional racism, of addiction, untreated illness; and decades of dis-investment. These are the problems. And if we’re going to fight homelessness, we’ve got to fight them all,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D).

“I’m glad Mike Bloomberg has made tackling housing affordability and homelessness a key pillar of his vision for America, and it can’t come a moment too soon," he added.

Housing has emerged as a prominent issue in the 2020 Democratic primary, with several other candidates unveiling plans of their own to expand affordability and boost programs to support the homeless population.

Read the article here.

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