TAKE ACTION: President Biden and House Republicans Close to Debt Ceiling Deal That Could Cut Funding for Affordable Housing and Homelessness Assistance
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could reach an agreement as soon as this week to lift the debt ceiling, and deep spending cuts for affordable housing and homelessness programs are squarely on the table. President Biden and Speaker McCarthy are also considering measures to impose rigid work reporting requirements for anti-poverty programs and to rescind COVID-19-relief funding, among other harmful provisions. Your advocacy is more important than ever to ensure that any agreement to lift the debt ceiling protects and expands resources to help people with the lowest incomes find a safe, stable, accessible, and affordable place to call home.
According to HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, such cuts would “represent the most devastating impacts in HUD’s history” and “make it impossible to stave off mass evictions.” Nearly 1 million households could lose HUD rental assistance, and nearly 120,000 fewer people experiencing homelessness would be served. The research is clear that the impacts of these devastating cuts would negatively spill over into many other sectors: lower educational achievement; deteriorating physical and mental health; higher healthcare expenditures; greater food insecurity; weaker upward economic mobility and growth; wider racial and gender gaps; and more encounters with the criminal legal system.
The campaign sent a letter to Congress on April 21 urging congressional leaders to reject any proposal to cut domestic spending, including investments in affordable housing and homelessness, or to reduce housing benefits by imposing arbitrary time limits, work requirements, or rent increases. Signatories of the letter included leading national organizations from an array of sectors, such as the Children’s Defense Fund; Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance; National Education Association; Food Research & Action Center; and UnidosUS.
It is critical that Congress not enact policies that increase poverty and hardship, especially for people with the lowest incomes. Members of Congress must look beyond dollar amounts and understand the human cost of cutting federal spending for affordable housing and homelessness programs.
Please send a letter to the President and Congress TODAY and urge them to provide the highest level of investment possible for federal housing and homelessness programs through the annual appropriations process.
SEND THE CAMPAIGN’S LETTER TO CONGRESS
DEAR President Biden/Congress,
As your constituent, I urge you to reject any proposal to cut domestic spending, including investments in affordable housing and homelessness, or cut housing benefits by imposing artificial time limits, work requirements, or rent increases. Rather than cutting housing and other domestic spending and making it harder to access housing benefits, Congress should instead provide the highest level of investment possible for federal housing and homelessness programs through the annual appropriations process.
Budget Cuts: With rents rising, eviction filings increasing, and more homelessness in many communities, federal housing investments are more critical than ever to sustain our communities and help low-income people thrive. Congress should invest in affordable housing at the scale needed, not balance the national budget on the backs of our nation’s lowest-income and most marginalized people and families. Arbitrary budget caps on domestic spending, such as those established through the “Budget Control Act of 2011,” would harm our nation and make our housing crisis worse. While Congress and the White House reached short-term agreements to provide limited budgetary relief from the Budget Control Act, the low spending caps led to disinvestment in key affordable housing and homelessness programs for a full decade, preventing our nation from making the investments needed to address America’s housing and homelessness crisis.
Because of the Budget Control Act, investments in affordable housing have not kept pace with growing demand. As a result, millions of people do not have an affordable place to call home. Half a million people are living on the street, in shelters, or in their cars on any given night, and millions more are at risk. Every state and congressional district is impacted. Our nation cannot afford further cuts to these critical investments. Federal funding for the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service programs provides essential resources to promote strong and healthy communities and help more than five million of America’s lowest-income and most marginalized seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, parents with children, and others afford stable and safe housing.
People of color would be hit hardest by cuts, as they disproportionately make up the population of renters with extremely low incomes. In fact, 20% of Black households, 18% of American Indian or Alaska Native households, 14% of Hispanic households, and 10% of Asian households are extremely low-income renters compared to only 6% of white non-Hispanic households are extremely low-income renters. In addition, single women renters—particularly single women of color and single women raising children on their own—are much more likely than single white, non-Hispanic men renters to have extremely low incomes.
Cuts to Housing Assistance: Congress should reject proposals to cut housing benefits or create additional barriers to prevent eligible households from receiving the housing assistance they need. Proposals to cut housing benefits – whether by imposing work requirements, time limits, or rent increases – does not address the underlying causes of America’s housing and homelessness crisis: the widening gap between wages and housing costs, and a severe shortage of homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes. Imposing arbitrary restrictions on housing benefits will not create the well-paying jobs and opportunities needed to lift households out of poverty. In fact, these restrictions will make it more difficult for households to maintain employment and economic security.
Thank you for your consideration.
For more information about the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign and its advocates, please see: www.opportunityhome.org
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