ABOUT OUR HOMES, OUR VOICES
Far too many families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Nationwide, more people are choosing to rent their homes than ever before. But our investments in affordable housing have not kept pace. As a result, millions of people do not have an affordable place to call home and half a million people, including families with small children and unaccompanied youth, are living on the street, in shelters, or in their cars on any given night.
Only one out of every four families in need receive housing assistance. And, our nation’s affordable housing infrastructure is deteriorating and is often inaccessible to people with disabilities. Every state and congressional district is impacted.
With the growing affordability challenges occurring in many American cities coupled with the existing shortage of affordable homes for the most economically vulnerable community members that impacts every community in the United States, we must expand not reduce federal funding for proven HUD and USDA programs.
OUR SHARED DEMAND
Investing in affordable housing produces long-term benefits, from increased employment and economic mobility to improved health and better education.
While advocates, resident leaders, and Congressional champions helped secure significant increases in funding for HUD programs for fiscal year 2018 and 2019, additional resources are needed to fully address the need and restore funding to previous levels.
This year, federal investments in affordable housing face significant budget threats. President Donald Trump has already promised to propose drastic cuts in his fiscal year 2020 budget request, which will likely slash funding for housing benefits that help millions of low income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and other vulnerable people afford their homes.
Additionally, Congress must reach a deal to lift low federal spending caps that starve low income families and communities of the resources they need to thrive. Instead of reducing our nation’s investments in affordable housing, we should make a bold and sustained commitment to ensure that everyone has a safe, accessible and affordable home.
The recent increase in federal investments for affordable housing demonstrates the importance and power of advocacy. This victory is a critical step forward — but there is still much more to do. We must build on the momentum of this year’s funding victory to carry it into the next.
Congress must again hear from advocates with the message that we should not reduce our nation’s investments in affordable housing, but we should instead continue a bold and sustained commitment to ensure that everyone has a safe, accessible and affordable home.
Congress must reject any proposed cuts to housing benefits and instead work to lift the low spending caps and fully invest in affordable housing resources that help low income families keep a roof over their heads.
WHY AFFORDABLE HOMES MATTER
Federal investments in affordable housing have widespread and significant benefits in communities across the country. From employment and economic mobility to health and education, all areas of life are improved when individuals and families have access to a decent, accessible and stable home.
HOMELESSNESS AND POVERTY REDUCTION
Housing subsidies are an effective way to solve homelessness for many families. Many homeless families are directly impacted by the affordable housing crisis. Many parents couldn’t afford homes when housing costs were high, and others lost their homes and couldn’t find new affordable homes. For many families, vouchers provide long term housing stability that lead to healthy and happy lives.
A wide body of research indicates that stable affordable housing drives stronger student outcomes.
Children in low income households who live in affordable housing score better on cognitive development tests than those growing up in households with unaffordable rents. Research also shows that young adults who lived in public or voucher-assisted housing as teenagers have higher earnings and lower rates of incarceration than young adults from unassisted low income households. Parents are also able to save more money for their children’s college tuition when they are not rent burdened and are more likely to attend a parent teacher conference.
Affordable housing options located in areas of high opportunity areas can lead to economically diverse neighborhoods, and thus economically diverse schools, which provide better outcomes for all children. Students in integrated schools have higher average test scores, experience less prejudice from their peers, and are better prepared for success in a diverse global economy.
Providing housing assistance allows for greater stability for children from low-income homes. When children switch schools frequently due to instability or homelessness, they're more likely to struggle academically and display behavioral problems, and less likely to go on to graduate from high school.
HUNGER AND HOUSING
Rent subsidies provide safe, decent and affordable housing which leaves more income for other basic needs. According to Children’s Health Watch, when children in subsidized housing are compared to those whose families who are on the waitlist, those in subsidized housing were found to be less seriously underweight, more likely to be food secure and more likely to be considered well by healthcare professionals.
STRENGTHENING THE ECONOMY
Investing in affordable housing infrastructure has numerous benefits for the economy—it creates jobs, boosts families' incomes, and encourages further development. According to a report by the National Association of Homebuilders, building 100 affordable rental homes generates $11.7 million in local income, $2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 161 local jobs in the first year alone.
When affordable housing isn't prioritized, local economies suffer. One study reported that the shortage of affordable housing in major metropolitan areas costs the American economy about $2 trillion a year in lower wages and productivity.
Further, HUD programs boost local economies by creating and supporting jobs. in fiscal year (FY) 2015, HUD investments supported an estimated 537,297 jobs. Of those, 301,217 were directly supported by HUD programs, while 236,080 were supported indirectly.
WE BELIEVE ALL PEOPLE DESERVE ACCESS TO BASIC LIVING STANDARDS, INCLUDING A PLACE TO CALL HOME.
A safe, decent, and accessible affordable home is a basic human right. All people need a place to call home. Federal investments in affordable housing need to be expanded to ensure this right, especially for people with the lowest incomes or who fall on hard times. Those receiving affordable housing subsidies are in many ways the lucky ones who won a housing lottery to receive the assistance. Only one out of every four eligible families receive the help they need. Instead, we must ensure all people—regardless of their income, race, color, nationality, citizenship, religion, sex, disability status, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity—have the opportunity to live in a stable home where they do not have to face the fear of eviction or homelessness.
WE BELIEVE THAT WHEN WE INVEST IN AFFORDABLE HOMES, WE INVEST IN PEOPLE, IN OUR COMMUNITIES, AND IN AMERICA AS A WHOLE.
When people have safe, decent, and accessible homes that they can afford, they are better able to find and maintain employment, achieve economic mobility, and stay in good health. A stable place to call home gives kids more opportunities to succeed in school and life, and offers seniors an opportunity to live and grow with independence and dignity. Towns, neighborhoods, and schools benefit from the increased sense of community that comes with residents having a stable and affordable home. Increasing and preserving affordable homes in areas of opportunity helps people climb the economic ladder, leading to stronger communities and bolstering economic productivity and job creation.
WE BELIEVE NO ONE SHOULD BE FORCED TO GIVE UP FOOD AND BASIC HEALTHCARE TO KEEP A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS.
Too often, severe housing cost burden forces people to sacrifice other necessities like food, child care, and health care, or to double-up with friends or family—even after working multiple jobs. This cost burden causes many to end up homeless on our streets and in our shelters. It is unacceptable that in a country as rich as ours, people face these impossible decisions every day.