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

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.” 

We’re here meeting with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Alessandra Biaggi, Senator Jamaal T. Bailey, and Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez, demanding that the state legislature #PassAll9 bills on our housing justice for all platform! #TenantPower #BronxPower

Posted by Housing Justice for All on Thursday, May 30, 2019

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.