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Ocasio-Cortez noted that "years of grassroots organizing on behalf of vulnerable Americans led to the creation of the first federal public housing units—but, for decades, the federal government has allowed our limited public housing stock to fall into disrepair."

"Residents are dealing with mold growth, lead-based paint hazards, lack of central cooling and heating, failing water infrastructure, and numerous other safety concerns," the congresswoman said. "It is beyond time for the federal government to take responsibility and pass legislation that offers comprehensive, public solutions."

"The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will allow for an increase in public housing units, create an estimated 280,000 jobs, and invest up to $23 billion a year over 10 years for highly energy-efficient developments," she explained. "This will produce on-site renewable energy, expand workforce capacity, and focus on community development. Every American deserves to live in a safe, vibrant, and environmentally conscious community—including public housing residents. I am confident this legislation is how we make that a reality."

The jobs estimate comes from an analysis released Thursday by the Climate and Community Project and the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative—which also found that the proposed upgrades to U.S. public housing stock would cut carbon emissions by 5.7 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 1.26 million cars off the road each year.

"Public housing is an essential source of stable and affordable housing for 1.7 million Americans, and our research shows we are rapidly losing units to conversions, demolitions, and deterioration," said Kira McDonald of Climate and Community Project. "This legislation would constitute decisive action to stave this loss and transform living conditions for public housing residents. In so doing, it would improve residents' health, safety, help eliminate carbon emissions, and help build the new green industries we need to decarbonize."

As Ocasio-Cortez's office summarized, the bill would:

The legislation would also create two grant programs for deep energy retrofits; community workforce development; upgrades to energy efficiency, building electrification, and water quality; community renewable energy generation; recycling; resiliency and sustainability; and climate adaptation and emergency disaster response.

As world leaders dragged their feet on climate action last year, declining to demand a global phaseout of planet-heating fossil fuels at the most recent United Nations climate conference, all life on Earth was forced to contend with record high temperatures. The United States alone saw 28 disasters that each caused at least $1 billion in damage, collectively costing at least $92.9 billion.

"In these difficult times, we must move forward boldly to address the systemic and existential crises facing us today and that includes urgently combating climate change and making sure every American has a safe and decent place to call home," Sanders said Thursday. "It is unacceptable that, on a single given night in America, over 650,000 people are homeless."

That record number comes from an annual report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in December. As Common Dreamsreported at the time, academics and advocates have long stressed that the formal figure only represents a faction of the people dealing with housing insecurity nationwide.

"It is unacceptable that, in the richest country in the history of the world, people are choosing between paying rent and putting food on the table," argued Sanders. "It is unacceptable that our nation's public housing is in a state of chronic disrepair and energy inefficiency after generations of government neglect. It is unacceptable that we have not done more to transform our energy systems, our communities, and our infrastructure away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. This legislation is a major step in the right direction, and I am proud to partner with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez in introducing it today."

Joining the pair in backing the bill are 55 other House Democrats and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Markey, who has spearheaded the broader battle for a Green New Deal with Ocasio-Cortez, said that "in the five years since its introduction, Green New Deal advocacy has catapulted environmental justice to the top of the national agenda, helped deliver historic victories, and charted a course for a better future."

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act is also endorsed by over 70 advocacy groups and labor unions, including the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Teachers, Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) Action, Movement for Black Lives, MoveOn, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Public Citizen, and Sunrise Movement.

"Our opponents use tactics like the Faircloth Amendment to defund our public housing. And then they point to our public housing and say, 'Look, it's not working.' That's what they do—but we're not confused," declared DaMareo Cooper, co-executive director of CPD Action.

"We're in another awakening right now. People have been through too much. They are tired. We are tired. Enough is enough," Cooper added. "We all know that it's impossible for you to think that a government in this day and age cannot create housing for everyone."

This content originally appeared on Common Dreams and was authored by Newswire Editor.


[1] green new deal News and Opinion | Common Dreams ➤[2][3] Fair Housing Advocates Celebrate Passage of AOC's Repeal of Faircloth Amendment | Common Dreams ➤[4] Deep Energy Retrofits | GSA ➤[5] 'A Tragedy for the Planet': Scientists Decry COP28 Outcome | Common Dreams ➤[6] NOAA, NASA Confirm Last Decade Was Hottest in Human History | Common Dreams ➤[7] Ticker Shows Climate Inaction Cost US Nearly $3,000 Per Second in 2023 | Common Dreams ➤[8][9] 'Unacceptable': US Homelessness Hits Record High | Common Dreams ➤[10] ed markey News and Opinion | Common Dreams ➤[11] elizabeth warren News and Opinion | Common Dreams ➤[12] 'We Need a Green New Deal': AOC, Markey Re-Up Visionary Climate Resolution | Common Dreams ➤[13] public citizen News and Opinion | Common Dreams ➤[14] sunrise movement News and Opinion | Common Dreams ➤