A safe, decent, affordable home is a foundation of opportunity, but is out of reach for far too many individuals and families. Stakeholders across sectors recognize the importance of housing. Educators know that students are more likely to succeed when they live in a stable, affordable home. Health care providers see strong links between patients’ poor health and the perpetual stress, anxiety, and unstable and unhealthy living conditions created by the lack of an affordable home. Civil rights advocates understand that, to address racial and economic disparities, policies must promote affordable housing in inclusive neighborhoods, end residential segregation, and eliminate housing barriers and discrimination. Community leaders can better help marginalized working families climb up the income ladder and build wealth when high rents are no longer eating up most of their paychecks. Housing is also essential to growing the economy, improving criminal justice outcomes, meeting veterans’ needs, ending homelessness, and more.
Federal housing policies and programs help many families rent safe, decent homes. Without this aid, many families would be homeless, living in substandard conditions, or struggling to afford other necessities such as nutritious food, health care, and transportation because so much of their income would be spent on rent.
Federal policy solutions — such as Housing Choice Vouchers, the national Housing Trust Fund, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits — are effective, but are chronically underfunded and face unprecedented threats. Only 1 in 4 families who qualify for federal housing assistance receive the help they need. Effective federal housing policies should be expanded to scale.
Despite the magnitude of the problem, affordable housing for low-income people is not yet a national priority. Going forward, a diverse range of stakeholders from various sectors will be necessary to generate widespread support and to effectuate federal policies that protect and expand affordable housing.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the signatories of this resolution support a national, multi-sector campaign to meet the housing needs of the nation’s low-income people. To that end, we endorse the creation and launch of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign and are committed to supporting its work. We come from a wide range of sectors, each with our own perspectives and concerns. Yet we all understand the importance of housing within our respective fields, and we all believe that federal policies which protect and expand affordable housing will help us achieve our own respective goals. Such policies would help bridge the growing gap between income and the rising cost of housing; provide aid to people experiencing job losses or other economic shocks to avert housing instability or homelessness; expand the affordable housing stock for low-income renters; and defend existing rental assistance and other targeted housing resources from harmful cuts.
Catholic Charities USA
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Children’s Defense Fund
Food Research & Action Center
National Alliance to End Homelessness
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Association of Community Health Centers
National Association of Social Workers
National Education Association
National League of Cities
National Low Income Housing Coalition
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
National Housing Trust
Natural Resources Defense Council
1 in 4 renters in America – 11.4 million households – have extremely low incomes and cannot afford the rent.
The campaign identifies key policy strategies that are essential for Congress to act upon.