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Tell Congress to Support $3.5 Billion Annually in the National Housing Trust Fund

Please join the campaign’s Steering Committee and call on Congress to expand the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF) to at least $3.5 billion annually through comprehensive housing finance reform legislation, as part of a broader commitment to access and affordability throughout the housing market.  The HTF is a dedicated funding stream to efficiently build, rehab, preserve, and operate rental housing for extremely low income people.  Expanding the supply of housing that is affordable to the lowest income renters is a key element of any successful strategy to solve America’s housing affordability crisis. 
The research is clear that when people have access to safe, decent, affordable housing, outcomes improve in a variety of sectors.  That’s why leading national organizations from an array of sectors are urging action on the HTF, including: Catholic Charities USA, Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s HealthWatch, Community Catalyst, Food Research & Action Center, NAACP, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Association of Social Workers, National Education Association, National League of Cities, National Low Income Housing Coalition, and UnidosUS.
We Urge National, State, and Local Organizations from a Variety of Sectors to Sign the Campaign’s Letter in Support of the HTF!
Sign Your Organization to the Campaign’s HTF Letter




$28 Million for Voucher Mobility Demonstration Included in Final Funding Bill 

Last fall, the campaign’s multi-sector Steering Committee urged Congress to invest in the housing choice voucher mobility demonstration, citing research showing that when children in poor families grow up in neighborhoods with low poverty, quality schools, and low crime, they are significantly more likely to attend college, less likely to become single parents, and more likely to earn dramatically more as adults over the course of their lifetime.  This helps break cycles of generational poverty and produces a positive taxpayer return.  Research also shows that low-income students perform better academically and close achievement gaps faster when housing assistance enables them to live stably in opportunity neighborhoods with lower-poverty schools. 
We are pleased to report that the final funding bill passed by Congress and signed by the President on February 15, 2019 includes $28 million for the Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration, which will provide voucher households with expanded access to neighborhoods of opportunity with strong schools, better job prospects, and other resources.  This marks the first time Congress has funded a housing mobility initiative since the early 1990s. 
For more details on the demonstration, including next steps and timing, please check out the recent blog post by the campaign’s partner, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  The campaign is very excited that this has become a reality, and we will continue working to ensure that the demonstration is successful and helps inform broader improvements within the voucher program.  
Read The Campaign’s Letter

Research Finds Rental Assistance Bills Are Most Efficient in Reducing Poverty 
As described by Dylan Matthews at Voxa team of researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy analyzed five bills recently proposed by Democratic presidential hopefuls or likely hopefuls to see which bills would reduce poverty the most.  The team found that the bills expanding rental assistance are most efficient, dollar-for-dollar, in reducing poverty. 
Of the five bills, two would greatly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit: The LIFT Act by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and The GAIN Act by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA).  The American Family Act by Senators Brown and Michael Bennet (D-CO) would establish a child allowance, providing parents with regular stipends for each child.  The Rent Relief Act by Senator Harris and The HOME Act by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) would significantly expand rental assistance through a renter’s tax credit.  
Researchers found that all five bills would lift millions out of poverty.  However, each of the five bills vary in size and incur different costs, so the researchers dug deeper to explore how the bills compared if they all cost the same.  They found that the rental assistance bills proved most efficient in reducing poverty. 
As Columbia’s Sara Kimberlin explained in the Vox article, housing and utilities “generally make up the largest share of total basic needs expenses for most families.”  It is not surprising then, that greater rental assistance would have a large impact on poverty reduction. 
The Vox article also suggests that this type of expansion of rental assistance would likely increase the overall demand for housing.  Thus, any comprehensive strategy to tackle the housing affordability crisis should also include “supply-side” solutions to expand the overall stock of affordable housing.  It is worth noting that the researchers did not analyze The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act by presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), which would dramatically increase the supply of deeply affordable housing through major investments in the national Housing Trust Fund.  
Read the Vox Article

Campaign Hosts Congressional Briefing and Unveils National Policy Agenda
On January 24, the campaign hosted a Congressional Briefing to unveil the release of its national policy agenda, entitled “Within Reach.” Over 110 Capitol Hill staffers and advocates were in attendance.
Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, opened the event with an overview of the housing affordability crisis and a description of the campaign, as well as an explanation of the various policy strategies recommended.  
“We all have a stake in solving the housing affordability crisis,” said Ms. Yentel.  “Other sectors are increasingly recognizing that they cannot be fully successful unless more people are affordably housed.”
Mike Koprowski, National Campaign Director of Opportunity Starts at Home, then moderated a panel discussion featuring senior leaders from the campaign’s Steering Committee: 

  • Jim Weill, President of the Food Research & Action Center;

  • Angelo McClain, CEO of the National Association of Social Workers; 

  • Mike Wallace, Director of Community and Economic Development at the National League of Cities; 

  • Mary Kusler, Senior Director of the Center for Advocacy at the National Education Association; 

  • Allison Bovell-Ammon, Deputy Director of Policy Strategy for Children’s HealthWatch 
These leaders from different sectors explained why their organizations joined the campaign and discussed how housing is deeply connected to their respective fields of work. 
“As housing costs have gone up, it’s harder for people to pay for the food they need.  Families are constantly struggling with these tradeoffs,” said Mr. Weill.  “We cannot accomplish our goal to end hunger without affordable, stable housing.”
View Recording of Congressional Briefing 
Read Press Release

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