Washington, D.C. – Tomorrow, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will introduce an ambitious proposal – the “American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2018” – to help end housing poverty and homelessness in America. The bill directly addresses the underlying cause of the affordable housing crisis – the severe shortage of affordable rental homes for people with the lowest incomes – through a robust investment in the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF). By expanding protections under the landmark Fair Housing Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income, the bill promotes economic mobility and opportunity. Moreover, the proposal creates new incentives for local governments to reduce barriers that drive up the cost of housing and encourage the private sector to do more to address the housing needs of the middle class.
"The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2018 is a prime example of Senator Warren’s commitment to helping families who struggle to pay rent and make ends meet,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The proposal expands investments in proven solutions – like the national Housing Trust Fund – at the scale necessary to help millions of the lowest income families who today face impossible choices between paying rent and putting food on the table, buying medication, or saving for a rainy day. Congress should quickly enact this ambitious bill to help end homelessness and housing poverty once and for all."
The core of Senator Warren’s proposal is a 10-year federal investment of almost $45 billion annually in the HTF. The HTF is the first new federal housing resource in a generation and is exclusively targeted to increase the supply of housing affordable to people with the lowest incomes who face the most severe impacts of the housing crisis. NLIHC’s newest report, “Getting Started,” shows how HTF resources are being used by states to build, rehabilitate and preserve homes for extremely low income households with incomes at or less than 30% of area median or less than the federal poverty line.
According to NLIHC’s The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes report, there is a national shortage of 7.2 million rental homes for America’s 11 million extremely low income households. There are just 35 rental homes affordable and available to every 100 of the lowest income households in the U.S. As a result, 71% of these households pay more than half of their limited incomes on rent, forcing them to make impossible trade-offs between paying rent and buying groceries, seeing a doctor, or saving for college or an emergency. In the worst cases, they become homeless.
The bill also expands the Fair Housing Act to ban housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income. Housing discrimination can prevent low income families from living in neighborhoods of their choice, including areas of opportunity with access to jobs that pay decent wages, good schools, healthcare, and transit. Expanding the federal anti-discrimination law will help remove barriers to housing choice for low income families and individuals.
The proposal creates new incentives to encourage local governments to address regulatory and zoning barriers that drive up housing costs and restrict the ability of the private sector to build more affordable rental homes for the middle class. A new competitive grant program would award communities that have removed local barriers to housing developments with flexible funding to address their pressing infrastructure and community development needs and to build and modernize schools.
For more information on the proposal, see NLIHC’s fact sheet at: https://bit.ly/2N0Aibg
Read Senator Warren's press release introducing the bill at: https://bit.ly/2zvSK7T
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.