Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has made housing policy a cornerstone of her campaign, and she’s going where most Democrats aren’t — the Mississippi Delta.
In a video posted to her Twitter account on Friday, Warren is seek walking around the town of Cleveland, Mississippi with state senator Willie Simmons, who represents the Delta counties of Bolivar, Sunflower, and Tallahatchie. Sen. Warren touted her bill that would provide $500 billion in housing funds over a ten-year period as a means of addressing the affordable housing crisis plaguing much of America. the funding would come from reducing the estate tax threshold from inheritances of $22 million to inheritances of $7 million.
“The fact that she, as a candidate for President of the United States, chose to come to the Mississippi Delta, and chose to come to Cleveland to highlight the housing needs — and not only was she identifying the need, she has a proposal in the U.S. Senate that would help change the condition she was looking at,” Sen. Simmons said.
What can we do to make a real difference in Cleveland, MS where families can’t afford the skyrocketing costs of living expenses? We put more money into housing so everyone can have a safe and affordable place to live. pic.twitter.com/GhRTDKZB75
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 22, 2019
Cleveland is one of the two county seats in Bolivar County, Mississippi. Census records show that Bolivar County as a whole has a median household income of just over $28,000/year, and a poverty rate of 32.7 percent. That’s nearly three times the national poverty rate as of 2017.
The fact that Warren is pitching her plan to low-income, majority-black communities in states like Mississippi and Alabama is intentional. The Montgomery Advertiser reported last week that the Massachusetts senator’s housing bill specifically seeks to right wrongs perpetuated on black communities like segregation and redlining, in which banks refuse to grant mortgages to potential homeowners because of them living in a location deemed too risky.
“It’s no surprise the federal government has subsidized the purchase of housing for decades for white people, but it has actively discriminated against black families that try to buy housing,” Warren told the Advertiser. “Redlining was the principal tool and it was the law of the land into the 1960s. The impact has been felt for generations since then. This bill is a step toward trying to reverse the impact of that discrimination.”
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.