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Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez push $172 billion 'Green New Deal' for public housing

"Public housing is burdened by government neglect, racial injustice, and chronic disrepair..."

Published: April 19, 2021 12:38pm

Updated: April 19, 2021 4:52pm

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders have introduced a "Green New Deal for Public Housing" that would use $172 billion in taxpayer money to retrofit existing housing to make them carbon neutral.

Under the 10-year proposal, all 950,000 of the public housing units across the country would undergo upgrades to electrification and water quality, according to a fact sheet released by the legislators’ offices.

“With America facing an affordable housing crisis and the perils of climate change, we must invest in our housing infrastructure now. We also must be honest about the scale of the problem,” Ocasio-Cortez, author of the original Green New Deal, said in a statement Monday.

"Just to address the backlog of critical maintenance repairs in [the New York City Housing Authority] and nowhere else –chipping lead paint, broken heating systems, failing gas utilities – would require $40 [million], what is currently in the American Jobs Plan," the New York Democrat said. This bill would invest up to $172 billion over ten years, improving the lives of nearly 2 million individuals and securing the long term future of the nation's public housing stock."

Sanders, a Vermont Independent, is like Ocasio-Cortez among Congress' most progressive members. 

The Green New Deal for Public Housing "will impact nearly 2 million people living in over 950,000 public housing homes," MarketWatch reported.

MarketWatch also said the proposed legislation states, if passed, will reduce public housing water bills by up to 30% a year, or $97 million, and energy bills by up to 70% a year, or $613 million.

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