Dr. Sheila Crowley, former president and CEO of NLIHC, testified before the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Platform Drafting Committee on June 8 on the housing needs of the lowest income people. NLIHC also submitted a statement to the DNC and Republican National Committee (RNC), and the NLIHC-facilitated Campaign for Housing and Community Development (CHCDF) submitted statements to both the DNC and RNC Party Platform Committees.
Dr. Crowley described the severity of the affordable housing shortage in America. She stated that nationally there are 10.4 million extremely low income renter households, but only 3.2 million rental homes that are available and affordable to them. As a consequence, 75% of extremely low income households are paying more than half of their incomes on rent.
“Having a home to which one can return at the end of the day is fundamental to human existence,” Dr. Crowley testified. “A home is a common human need and a human right. It is essential to success in all other spheres of modern life. Yet like so many other aspects of the American economy, housing, the physical manifestation of home, is riddled with inequality. Federal, state, and local housing policy and housing finance are weighted in favor of the better off. Eviction, foreclosure, housing poverty, homelessness, substandard conditions, unfair lending, and illegal discrimination are experienced by millions of people in the United States every day. We can and should do better.”
Dr. Crowley made several policy recommendations for the Platform Committee to consider, including preserving and expanding affordable housing programs through reforming the mortgage interest deduction and mandatory federal spending, ensuring the housing needs of people with criminal records are addressed in criminal justice reform, and protecting the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule.
NLIHC submitted a statement to the Platform Committee with similar recommendations. The statement emphasizes that “[a] home is vital to the success of every individual and of our nation as a whole, and we must ensure that the lowest income people have access to safe and secure housing. We urge the DNC to continue its commitment to overcoming wealth inequality in America and to ensuring everyone has an opportunity to succeed by expanding access to decent, affordable housing through a realignment of US housing policy priorities.”
CHCDF submitted statements to both the RNC and DNC Party Platform Committees. More than 25 national organizations signed onto the statements, which read in part: “[Affordable housing] programs have helped to provide stable homes for millions of families and, through innovation, will continue to provide safe and affordable housing for decades to come. However, the impact of these proven, effective programs is limited when resources are inadequate for their implementation and evaluation. We urge you to support expanding investment in these critical housing programs that serve as the foundation of opportunity for so many families.”
Sheila Crowley’s testimony is at: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Crowley-DNC_platform_testimony_June_8_2016.pdf
NLIHC’s statement is at: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/NLIHC_DNC_Testimony_2016.pdf