ABOUT OUR HOMES, OUR VOICES 

 THE ISSUE 

Far too many families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Nationwide, more people are renting their homes than ever before, but the federal government’s investments in accessible, affordable homes have not kept pace with demand. Nearly 11 million families spend more than half of their income on rent, and the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased nationally over the past few years. Rents are increasing, while housing infrastructure is deteriorating. The need for more affordable housing is felt in every state and congressional district, but despite the growing need, only one in four people who qualify for housing assistance actually receives it.

 OUR SHARED DEMAND 

Lawmakers should protect and expand federal housing resources to end homelessness and housing poverty in the U.S. Advocates can encourage Congress to act through the annual funding process, prioritization of housing in special spending packages, or new legislation focusing on particular programs or policies that preserve, expand, or protect.

 

THE FISCAL YEAR 2021 BUDGET

The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) urges Congress to ensure that affordable housing and community development programs receive the highest allocation of funds possible. The two-year bipartisan budget agreement signed last summer only allows for a relatively small funding increase for all non-defense programs in FY 2021 compared to current levels. In order to cover rising costs, HUD’s budget will need a significant increase over FY 2020 levels just to maintain assistance to the current number of households. President Trump’s budget request proposed cutting funding for HUD by 15%, or $8.6 billion.

 

The Ask: Congress should reject the president’s cuts and provide increased funding for affordable housing and community development programs in FY 2021.

HOUSING AS INFRASTRUCTURE

The president and leaders in Congress have identified a significant investment in infrastructures as a top priority. The connection between affordable housing and infrastructure is clear: like roads and bridges, affordable housing is a long-term asset that helps communities and families thrive. An infrastructure bill presents a critical opportunity to build and preserve accessible, affordable homes and provide new resources for community development.

 

The Ask: Any infrastructure package should include new resources for affordable housing and community development programs.

Legislation: Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the “Housing Is Infrastructure Act” (H.R. 5187), which includes investments in numerous affordable housing and community development programs. Learn more about this proposal here.

EXPANDING RESOURCES FOR FEDERALLY ASSISTED HOUSING

Due to decades of underfunding, much of the federally assisted housing stock, such as public housing and USDA Section 515 homes, requires substantial investments to preserve these homes. Without new resources, the country will lose more than 10,000 affordable homes every year.

The Ask: Congress should invest in the preservation of federally assisted housing, which provides safe, decent, and accessible homes to millions of low-income people.

 

PRESERVING TENANCY

Ensuring tenants can stay in their homes is an important part of preventing homelessness and addressing the affordable housing crisis. Whether this is through a housing stabilization fund, anti-rent gauging laws, measures to bridge incomes and rents, or other tenant protections, Congress can help prevent low-income people from being displaced or evicted.

 

The Ask: To ensure renters can stay in their homes, lawmakers should ensure tenants have the strong protections and additional resources that keep them in their homes.

 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.

EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS

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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Planning Webinar PowerPoint:

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Planning Webinar Recording:

Our Homes, Our Voices | National Housing Week of Action

C/O National Low Income Housing Coalition

1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC  20005

202-662-1530 | ourhomes@nlihc.org

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