On the Issues


As a product of public housing, Ritchie stands as living proof that investment in affordable housing can bring stability and opportunity. Yet, the Republican Party, from Nixon to Reagan to Trump, systematically starved public housing of federal funding for decades. Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which is home to a half-million predominantly Black and Brown New Yorkers, is in dire need of approximately $40 billion in necessary capital repairs. In addition to supporting these investments, Ritchie believes we must end the criminalization of homelessness and eradicate the stigma that’s too often attached to housing insecurity.

I grew up in public housing in conditions of mold and mildew, leaks and lead, without consistent heat or hot water in the winter. And so when I think about all the struggles affecting the poorest parts of our country, whether it be poverty or inequality, food insecurity or housing, these are not only abstractions that I studied intensely as a policy, these are struggles that I’ve lived in my own life. For me, policy is personal.

Metro Weekly, "Ritchie Torres on Making History, His Progressive Credentials, and Giving Hope to LGBTQ Youth"

Expand Section 8

Federal housing policy disproportionately benefits homeowners and higher-income Americans. Ritchie supports investing more in federal rental assistance programs, such as the Section 8 program, and capping rent at 30% of a renter’s income. Section 8 housing vouchers are a vitally important lifeline to more than 2 million American families. Ritchie believes in assisting more families by protecting and expanding Section 8. States and localities must be required to implement desegregation plans, and landlords should be banned from discriminating against renters with federal assistance.

I would not be here were it not for the stability that affordable housing gave me and my family. I owe it to my neighbors. I owe it to my fellow tenants in the Bronx to ensure that the affordable housing stock endures for the next generation of Americans.

Yahoo News, “How Ritchie Torres won a battle for the Bronx in the heat of the pandemic”

Build More Affordable & Public Housing

The answer to the housing affordability crisis is not only greater rental assistance, we also need to greatly increase our investments to build new affordable and public housing. Restrictive zoning requirements and regulations at the state and local levels perpetuate segregated communities and inhibit development of affordable housing. Ritchie believes the federal government should require state and local governments to eliminate these barriers and encourage the development of the affordable housing stock.

Elevate Living Conditions

Ritchie has spent his career fighting for more funding for renovating public housing. Low-income families living in older and substandard housing too often face unsafe and unhealthy living conditions, such as lead contamination and mold exposure. Lead poisoning is particularly harmful to children under 6 years of age, whose development and health outcomes can be severely affected by exposure. In New York City, it would cost $3 billion to eradicate lead poisoning from NYCHA, and Ritchie believes that the federal government cannot ignore this health crisis, which disproportionately affects Black and Brown families.

Housing in the News

Ritchie's Platform