The Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, spent much of his pre-politics career as a fair housing attorney, spending nearly 20 years fighting for fair housing, and it looks like he plans to continue that fight if he becomes vice president.
After former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced Kaine as her running mate, some suggested that a Kaine vice presidency would be a win for “people who care about housing discrimination.”
Now, Kaine is laying the groundwork for what a Clinton/Kaine administration would mean for fair housing efforts by writing an op-ed for CNN entitled “How to make housing fair in America.”
In the article, Kaine writes about his first case of fighting against housing discrimination, helping a young African-American woman sue an apartment building after being denied an apartment because of her race.
After that case, “housing discrimination would go on to become the heart of my legal practice for many years,” Kaine writes.
The impact of that case on Kaine was deep and profound, he writes.
But I could never shake the impact Lorraine's case had on me. She and I were about the same age. We were both starting the first chapter of our lives in the real world. And yet, simply because of our different skin color, we had radically different experiences finding a place to begin those lives.
A house is more than just a place to sleep. It's part of the foundation on which a family can build a life. Where you live determines the jobs you can find, the schools your children can attend, the air you breathe and the opportunities you have. And when you are blocked from living where you want, it cuts to the core of who you are.
Kaine goes on to discuss how he and Clinton will fight against housing discrimination if they are elected in November.
Again from Kaine:
Today, more action is still needed. That's why Hillary Clinton and I have a bold, progressive plan to fight housing inequities across America -- especially in communities that have been left out or left behind.
While the drivers of this problem have varied over time, from overt redlining to uneven access to the mortgage market and skyrocketing rents, the basic problem remains: it's too hard for families of color to find a decent, affordable place to live -- a place with good jobs and quality schools.
Kaine goes on to cite the fair housing plans laid out by Clinton earlier this year, which included a $25 billion housing investment program that aims to “lift more families into sustainable homeownership,” by offering down payment assistance, increasing housing counseling programs, expanding beyond traditional credit scores, building more affordable rental housing, clarifying lending rules and other changes.
In Kaine’s words:
We'll expand the supply of Low Income Housing Tax Credits that help keep rising rents in check.
We'll increase rental assistance for low-income families, and help families who receive support choose from a wide range of neighborhoods to live in.
We'll provide more resources to public housing authorities, and pair these investments with broader economic development efforts.
We'll support initiatives to provide up to $10,000 in assistance on a down payment for families looking to buy their first home.
And of course, we'll bolster resources to enforce Fair Housing laws and fight housing discrimination in all its forms.
Kaine has been outspoken on fair housing in his time in the Senate as well, including being part of a group of Democratic senators who in 2015 called for an investigation into alleged neglect of foreclosed homes in minority communities.
And now it looks like he’ll try to do the same types of things as vice president, if elected.
Housing discrimination cuts right to the heart of who we are as a society. We need to do all we can to fight it: https://t.co/RcNveGGwZM— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) August 12, 2016
Click here to read Kaine’s full piece for CNN.
(Image above courtesy of Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com)