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Kucinich focuses on housing

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Representative Dennis J. Kucinich sought yesterday to focus the spotlight that follows presidential candidates on the issue of affordable housing, visiting a housing-assistance center and speaking of his own family's experience of living in 21 homes by the time he was 17.

The Ohio Democrat said that, if elected, he would seek to increase the stock of affordable housing by providing financial assistance in the form of rental vouchers, as well as increased funding for transitional facilities such as The Way Home, a nonprofit group that serves Manchester by helping families obtain loans for rental security deposits.

"It's not a very powerful constituency, electorally, because guess what? If you don't have a home, you're less likely to vote," Kucinich told reporters. "This is a constituency which, for me, is from the heart."

Kucinich said the problem of homelessness in the United States, as well as dwindling affordable housing, can only be addressed with a larger overall economic program. That plan would include job creation through a program similar to the one embarked upon following the Great Depression, universal health care, and universal education from age 3 onward.

The congressman said he would fund his proposals by repealing President Bush's tax cuts, pulling US troops out of Iraq, and by seeking a 15 percent cut in Defense Department funding.

Kucinich also made light of the decision by rivals Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and former Army General Wesley K. Clark to stop campaigning in Iowa in favor of spending more time in New Hampshire and other early-voting states.

"The general just got in the race. I don't know why he's in retreat," Kucinich said of Clark.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com.

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