United for Homes Campaign Garners Endorsers from all 435 Congressional Districts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 14, 2014

CONTACT: Christine Campbell ccampbell@nlihc.org, 202-662-1530 x247

The United for Homes Campaign is pleased to announce that today we have gained endorsements in each of the 435 U.S. Congressional Districts.  Rose Espinoza of the La Habra City Council in California’s 39th district joins the other 1,780 organizations and elected officials who have endorsed the campaign.  The campaign includes affordable housing developers, faith-based organizations, social service agencies, and other organizations.    

United for Homes is the campaign to secure a sustainable and robust funding stream for the National Housing Trust Fund, created by Congress in 2008 to increase the supply of rental housing affordable to those most in need, including those who are homeless.  United for Homes proposes to raise significant revenue through two simple, smart changes to the mortgage interest deduction: converting the mortgage interest deduction to a 15% non-refundable tax credit based on the interest paid on mortgages up to $500,000 (down from $1 million currently, the second change).

Phased-in over five years, the two changes would expand the number of homeowners with mortgages who would get a tax break from 39 million to 55 million; 99% of the new beneficiaries would be homeowners with incomes under $100,000. These changes would raise $230 billion over ten years, and if invested in affordable rental housing would end homelessness and assure that the lowest income seniors, families with children, and people with disabilities have secure and decent homes.

“We knew that there would be broad support for making the mortgage interest deduction fairer and less regressive, for making it a tax credit that millions of additional low and moderate income homeowners would benefit from, and for investing the revenue raised in affordable rental housing.  The fact that the United for Homes campaign now has endorsers in every Congressional District drives this home,” said National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Sheila Crowley.

The National Housing Trust Fund has remained unfunded since it was created in 2008, while the need for affordable housing for the lowest income households is at an all-time high.  The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) reports there is a nationwide deficit of 7.1 million rental units affordable and available to extremely low income households, those with incomes at or below 30% of area median income.  There are only 31 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low income renters.  Extremely low income renters make up 25% of the total renter population, but just 7% of all rental units are affordable and available to this population.

“The steadily increasing shortage of affordable housing forces more than three out of four extremely low income households to spend the majority of their meager incomes on housing.  This leaves them with very little left to pay for other essentials such as food, transportation, healthcare and clothing.  The National Housing Trust Fund will increase the supply of affordable housing available to people with extremely low incomes,” said Peter Edelman, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and Honorary Co-Chair of the United for Homes campaign.

“It is possible to achieve the national goal of a decent and affordable home for all Americans without an increase in federal spending.  We just need to use existing housing subsidies more efficiently and more fairly. Congress could end homelessness today if it had the will to do so,” said Crowley.

For more information on the United for Homes campaign and to see the rest of the endorsers, visit www.unitedforhomes.org