16 Cosponsors in Senate for Affordable Housing Task Force Legislation

The “Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act” (S.3231) now has 16 bipartisan cosponsors, indicating significant momentum in the Senate to create an affordable housing task force to deeply study the nation’s crisis and to articulate robust solutions, as called for by the bill.  The campaign has called on Congress to support the legislation and advocates have sent 424 letters to various Senate offices urging support.

In July, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Angus King (I-ME), along with Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Chris Coons (D-DE), introduced the bill.  Since then, additional cosponsors include: John Kennedy (R-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Joni Ernst (R-IA).  This set of bipartisan cosponsors embodies significant geographic and ideological diversity and demonstrates a growing recognition of the need for action on both sides of the aisle.

Please help keep the momentum going by sending a letter to your Senators and spreading the word to your networks.

Also, check out the campaign’s latest podcast featuring the bill’s sponsor, Senator Todd Young.  He discusses why he has prioritized the housing affordability issue, the impact of the crisis throughout his home state of Indiana, the growing body of research on the multi-sector impacts of the lack of affordable housing, his recent legislation, the importance of housing voucher mobility, potential cost-savings within the federal budget, and his views on the role of the federal government in tackling the problem.

National Campaign Director Mike Koprowski with Senator Todd Young (R-IN)


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Listen to Podcast Now!


Coming in January! The Campaign’s National Policy Agenda

We are excited to announce that a report detailing the campaign’s National Policy Agenda will be released next month in January 2019!  The report, entitled “Within Reach,” calls for a major expansion of rental assistance, a major expansion of the supply of deeply affordable housing, and the creation of a new national program to provide emergency housing assistance to families experiencing unforeseen economic crises.

The report will be published just as the new Congress will be establishing its policy priorities, and the campaign is planning to engage policymakers alongside its multi-sector partners.  Stay tuned for more information!

Study: Families Receiving Housing Subsidies with SNAP and WIC Are 72% More Likely to be Housing Secure

A study published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children found that the combination of housing subsidies with nutrition benefits improves housing security.  Housing subsidies are critically important to ensure low-income families avoid housing insecurity (as defined by experiencing overcrowding or frequent moves in the previous year).  This study shows that low-income families receiving housing subsidies in combination with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits were 72% more likely to be housing secure than those receiving housing subsidies alone. WIC is a federal supplemental nutrition program for pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5.  WIC covers basic nutritional needs of infants and young children but is not adequate to cover all the nutritional needs of families, so families may also qualify to receive additional help from SNAP.  Unlike WIC, SNAP is a federal nutrition program open to all low-income families and individuals regardless of gender or age.  In recent years, several states have begun to enroll eligible families in multiple programs like Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, housing assistance, and free or reduced-price lunch at the same time.  The integration helps streamline bureaucracy for vulnerable low-income households.

“The results of this study reinforce that housing subsidies are a potent benefit for increasing housing security among low-income families with young children,” writes the study’s authors.  “However, the combination of housing subsidies with nutrition benefits was most strongly associated with higher adjusted odds of housing security.”

The authors also found that the loss of housing subsidies, not surprisingly, was associated with increased housing insecurity even after adjusting for the receipt of SNAP benefits. What was surprising was the finding that the loss of SNAP benefits was also associated with increased housing insecurity, even after adjusting for the receipt of housing subsidies.

The study’s findings demonstrate that hunger policy is housing policy and that policymakers should work to pair housing assistance with nutrition benefits in order to improve housing security.  To read more research on the connection between hunger and housing, please check out the Hunger and Housing sector page.

Read the Study


2018: Year in Review

With your help, the campaign’s first year has been a resounding success!  Since our public launch in March 2018, we have focused on building a strong foundational infrastructure that will enable us to advance robust and equitable housing solutions in the years ahead.  The campaign hit its major milestones in 2018 and is looking forward to continued progress in 2019.  Below is a brief snapshot of what the campaign has done thus far:

  • Public Launch: The campaign officially launched on March 20, 2018 to a packed crowd of over 430 attendees. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) helped kick off the launch event, along with senior leaders of the campaign’s multi-sector Steering Committee.
  • Building the Steering Committee: 16 leading national organizations from a variety of sectors make up the campaign’s unprecedented Steering Committee. Each organization provides ongoing strategic and tactical advice to the campaign and works to mobilize its respective multi-sector networks around housing policy actions. Check out the Steering Committee’s Joint Resolution.
  • Supporting 7 State Campaigns: The national campaign provides financial support and technical assistance to partners in seven states: Calfornia, Maine, New Jersey, Idaho, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah.  Each state campaign is working to build multi-sector coalitions to advance federal housing policy.
  • Website and Social Media: The campaign’s comprehensive and interactive website was unveiled during the launch in March along with its social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin.  The website is replete with videos, research, multi-sector fact sheets, blogs from partners, podcasts, letters to Congress, newsletter sign-ups, and much more. Since launch, the website has had over 40,000 views.  We’ve had over 2,200 newsletter sign-ups and over 350,000 engagements on Twitter.
  • Establishing the National Policy Agenda: The campaign has spent the past several months working with its multi-sector partners developing a report which details its national policy agenda.  The report, entitled “Within Reach,” will be released in January 2019.
  • Early Policy Advocacy: Campaign advocates have sent over 1,100 letters to Congress in the past 9 months.  424 of those letters have urged support for S.3231 which would create a bipartisan affordable housing task force in Congress.  The campaign’s Steering Committee also sent a joint sign-on letter urging Congress to include in its final Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) FY2019 appropriations bill the House provision that invests $50 million for the Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration.
  • Building the Opportunity Roundtable: The Roundtable launched in September, designed to foster cross-sector engagement around the intersections of affordable housing.  It currently consists of representatives from 75 national organizations from a wide variety of sectors, including housing, education, healthcare, civil rights, anti-poverty, seniors, faith-based, anti-hunger, veterans, LGBTQ, and more.

  • Public Events: The campaign launched to a live audience of over 430 advocates in March (see above).  In May, the campaign held a live panel discussion in Washington D.C. entitled “Broadening the Housing Movement.”  The panel featured senior leaders from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, NAACP, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Education Association, Community Catalyst, and Children’s Defense Fund.  More than 80 individuals representing leading national organizations attended.  The panel discussion was also recorded into a podcast.  In August, the campaign hosted its first informational webinar in which over 1,000 individuals registered from every corner of the country, including a multi-sector array of public and private organizations at the local, state, and national levels.

From the team at Opportunity Starts at Home, we send our warmest wishes for a happy holiday season!  We are so grateful for your support.  See you in 2019 as we continue the work to ensure that the most vulnerable households have access to safe, decent, affordable homes.