Older adults would be some of the beneficiaries of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) last week, according to the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“We must build the political will to combat the affordable housing crisis and climate change — both of which severely harm the lowest-income people, people of color, seniors, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness and others — and I thank Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for their innovative, holistic vision for green affordable housing in America,” Diane Yentel said.

Yentel called the bill, S. 2876, a “bold” and “ambitious” proposal to preserve and modernize housing for current and future residents as well as provide job and training opportunities for low-income residents.

The bill was introduced in partnership with the NLIHC as well as other affordable housing advocates, public housing residents and climate change activists. It aims to retrofit, rehabilitate and decarbonize the entire nation’s public housing stock by investing up to $180 billion over 10 years. The legislation also envisions a federal-state partnership creating new grant programs to build and maintain new senior centers and undertake other initiatives.

The legislation would reduce public housing costs by $97 million per year, or 30%, and energy costs by $613 million, or 70%, according to Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.

“[T]he Green New Deal is not just about climate change. It is an economic plan to create millions of good-paying jobs, strengthen our infrastructure and invest in our country’s frontline and vulnerable communities,” Sanders said. “This bill shows that we can address our climate and affordable housing crises by making public housing a model of efficiency, sustainability and resiliency.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and endorsed by more than 50 organizations. Sanders and Warren are candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election. Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed Sanders.

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