Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Just Gave a Passionate Speech About Why Housing is a Human Right

“Our access and our guarantee to having a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit.”

Lars Niki/Getty

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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke with New Yorkers about her efforts in Congress to increase access to affordable housing at a town hall in the Bronx Thursday evening. Housing, she says, should be legislated as a human right. “What does that mean? It means that our access and our guarantee to having a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

The town hall, hosted by Housing Justice for All, a coalition of tenant associations and other housing advocates in New York, brought together tenants who are pushing for a package of housing bills that could implement universal rent control in the state. 

Ocasio-Cortez says that with a Democratic majority in the house, she’s working at the federal level to disassemble the tax breaks that have incentivized companies to ignore residents. She also plans to re-introduce the Fair Chance at Housing Act in the House that would ease restrictions to federally-subsidized housing, particularly for tenants with previous criminal convictions. She told attendees that Sen. Kamala Harris is considering introducing it in the Senate, as well. “We have been conditioned to think that basic rights are a luxury and a privilege when they are not,” she said.  

She also emphasized the role of the environment and the need for policies like the Green New Deal to access safe apartments, clean air, and nature. “The environmental piece of this is where the dignity is, and we have to fight for that too.” 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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