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Bennet unveils housing plan that aims to help middle class

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Candidate Michael Bennet speaks to reporters July 31 after a Democratic primary debate in Detroit, Mich. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Candidate Michael Bennet speaks to reporters July 31 after a Democratic primary debate in Detroit, Mich. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet unveiled a plan Thursday he said will revolutionize the U.S. housing industry with housing near places of employment, incentives, down payment assistance and vouchers for low-income renters.

Bennet's plan says too many in the middle class are spending too much of their income, 30 percent, on rent or mortgages, and 18 million households spend more than half their income on housing.

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"The lack of available affordable homes, particularly within relatively close proximity to employment, puts home ownership out of reach for families struggling to pay for the high cost of health care, child care and student debt," the plan states.

The Colorado Democrat said he plans to overhaul policy so every American can live in a stable home in a thriving community.

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"A home is a platform for stability and upward mobility in America, but for too many families, owning a home is out of reach and the high cost of paying rent has pushed them to a breaking point," Bennett said in a statement. "We need to build more homes near good jobs and good schools and ensure people can actually afford them. That's the bottom line for creating opportunity for all Americans."

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Bennet's plan aims to reform federal housing tax incentives he says favor the wealthy and discourage affordability in communities with good schools and job opportunities. He also wants to invest more in public transit projects to ease reliance on vehicles.

"We need to expand investments in major-mass transit projects like bus-rapid transit or commuter rail that connect people to good jobs, not projects that hoard opportunity for high-income neighborhoods," he said.

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Bennet said, if elected, he would make sure federal transportation investments go to communities that promote inclusive, affordable housing supply.

Bennet has struggled to find support in his campaign so far, and failed to qualify for next week's Democratic debate.

His plan follows that of candidate Bernie Sanders, a $1.5 trillion "Housing for All" plan to reinvest in affordable housing.

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