San Diego

A Conversation with Sen. Bernie Sanders on Affordable Housing

As presidential candidates are turning their attention to our region, California issues like housing and homelessness are coming to the fore.

Five candidates were in town this past week for the UnidosUS conference. NBC 7's Political reporter, Alex Presha, sat down with Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Alex: Here in California there is a housing crisis. There is a homeless crisis.

Sen. Sanders: Yes, there is. As it happens, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and I -- she's from Oakland -- and when I was in the house, we passed the most significant low-income housing program in recent history, which is now funded to the tune of $800 million. It's called the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund. We need to greatly expand the funding for that to build affordable housing in this country. We're talking about millions of units. When I was mayor of Burlington, we started the first community land trust. It's an idea now spreading across the country and all over the world. So, housing is something I know and care about.

Alex: What is the carrot you give developers to build non-luxury units?

Sen. Sanders: Oh, my goodness, there's so much you can do. There are many programs. And many of these decisions are made locally, but the federal government can play a role. But if you want to build luxury condominiums, you have to have to build a significant amount of affordable housing...The federal government is going to have to play a major role in this, and that's exactly what I want to promote.

At the local level, San Diego has done that to an extent. City council passed new requirements that up the fee home builders pay if they don't set aside 10 percent of their units to people who make 50 percent or less of the area median income.

Mayor Faulconer could still veto those requirements.

NBC 7's Political reporter, Alex Presha sat down with Sen. Bernie Sanders to talk about important California issues like housing and homelessness.
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