Voters Can’t Afford To Ignore Key Election Issue In 2024

New Survey Names Brooklyn As Most Unaffordable Place To Live In U.S.

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty

Let’s talk about housing

Why is it that when some pundits and politicos want to talk about the issues important to Black voters, they only talk about civil rights, critical race theory and criminal justice reform?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, those are all important issues and we should definitely talk about them. In fact, I’ve talked about them often and at length. But pretending that it’s all the Black community cares about is both stupid and insulting. It’s like Donald Trump saying that Black voters will identify with him because he’s under indictment.

Yeah…he actually said that. But we’ll unpack that later. For now, let’s talk about how issues like job creation, education and healthcare too often get ignored by folks like him pretending to “identify” with Black voters but completely ignoring issues that affect our lives every day.

Let’s talk about how Black communities across America are bearing the brunt of climate change. Let’s talk about student loan debt that keeps Black families from building wealth and living the American Dream. Let’s talk about education. Let’s talk about healthcare. Let’s talk about housing. After all, housing is an issue for Black voters and for all Americans. In fact, it is one of those issues that make America’s heart beat.

Marcia ‘The Fixer’ Fudge’s legacy on housing

The fact is that the accessibility and affordability of quality housing is the sleeper issue of almost every election, and that goes double for the Black community. Some politicians forget about the list of demands to end segregated housing Dr. King posted on the front door of Chicago’s City Hall. But we don’t and neither does Joe Biden. That’s why, in 2021, he appointed Congresswoman Marcia “The Fixer” Fudge as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and, three years later, she has lived up to her name. The Fixer did her Fixin’.

Vice President Kamala Harris Attends Freedman's Bank Forum At The Treasury Department

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge speaks during the Freedman’s Bank Forum in the Cash Room at the Treasury Department on October 04, 2022 in Washington, DC. | Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Think about this. When Secretary Fudge was confirmed, roughly one of every five renters were behind on rent and over 10 million homeowners were behind on mortgage payments putting them at risk of eviction and foreclosure.

But today, the Federal Housing Administration reports its first-time homebuyer rate is at its highest point in more than two decades and the federal government has supported financing for 2.2 million first-time home buyers since President Biden took office.

In December 2021, Moody’s Analytics reported that nearly 12 million U.S. renters were expected to owe an average of roughly $6,000 in late rent and utility payments and nearly 3 million homeowners were more than 90 days past due on their mortgages in January.

But today, Secretary Fudge and HUD have stepped up not only by issuing a record number of housing vouchers but also by implementing new rules to protect families from sudden and surprise evictions, developing the first-of-its-kind Eviction Protection Grant program and then doubling its funding by investing more than $1 billion for housing in tribal communities and creating the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights.

Are you starting to see the contrast? Good because there’s more.

Under Secretary Fudge’s leadership, HUD has been making landmark investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, climate resilience and low embodied carbon including more than $4 billion to make homes safer and more sustainable particularly in communities of color that are too often the hardest hit.

On top of that, Secretary Fudge has prioritized fair housing and rooting out the legacy of racial discrimination in housing through decisive action like restoring the Discriminatory Effects Rule which eliminates policies discriminatory policies, investing in improving the long-neglected housing stock in communities of color, expanding the Family Self-Sufficiency program and launching PAVE, an interagency taskforce committed to eliminating racial and ethnic bias in home valuations.

That’s not just a political record. That’s a legacy of service…and it’s a good start.

We can’t afford to ignore housing this election cycle

Look, I get it. Housing isn’t as sexy as critical race theory or as loud as justice reform. It doesn’t make splashy headlines or full-throated diatribes on cable news. But it matters, it changes lives and moves the needle. We learned long ago that you don’t have to be loud to make noise, and now Secretary Fudge has proved it once again.

On the campaign trail, we’re starting to see President Biden make this pitch, as well, calling for major new investments in affordable housing and new incentives to promote construction and tax credits aiding lower-income renters and first-time homebuyers. He’s not going to sleep on this sleeper issue and neither should we.

Let the MAGA Republicans yell and stomp as loud as they like. We’ll be over here making a difference.

Antjuan Seawright (@antjuansea) is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way.


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