Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced the “Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act” (S.1257) in the U.S. Senate on April 25. The bipartisan legislation would create 250,000 new housing vouchers, paired with mobility-related services, to help low-income families with young children move to communities of their choice, including neighborhoods with high-performing schools and high-quality childcare and early education programs. The Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act has been championed by NLIHC’s Opportunity Starts at Home (OSAH) campaign, which worked with the bill’s sponsors to shape the legislation.
The bill would create new vouchers for low-income, high-need families with children under age 6 who have a history of homelessness or housing instability, live in an area of concentrated poverty, or are at risk of being pushed out of a well-resourced area. The new vouchers would be paired with customized counseling and mobility-related services to help families move to neighborhoods of their choice.
Access to safe, affordable housing is linked to nearly every quality-of-life measure, including better educational and health outcomes, housing stability, racial equity, and economic mobility. A landmark study by Harvard economist Raj Chetty demonstrates the enormous positive impact that affordable housing can have on upward economic mobility for children in low-income families.
More than 60 national organizations have endorsed the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act.
Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign Leaders Support the Legislation
“With exorbitant rents and increased homelessness in many communities, our nation is in the grips of an affordable housing crisis that forces three out of every four of America’s lowest-income families to make impossible tradeoffs between paying rent and putting groceries on the table or meeting their other basic needs,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC. “Ongoing structural racism, discrimination, and segregation in our communities exacerbates the challenges, impacting health outcomes, educational attainment, and in some cases, life expectancy. The Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act is a critical first step toward housing justice by providing 250,000 families with young children the breadth of opportunities that start with affordable homes in safe, thriving communities with access to good schools, jobs, healthcare, and transit.”
“Low-income children facing housing instability and growing up in neighborhoods of extreme poverty are more likely to struggle in school, more likely to experience adverse health outcomes, and less likely to climb the income ladder as adults,” said Mike Koprowski, national director of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign. “Research clearly shows that Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers can dramatically improve the life trajectories of low-income children by expanding access to stable, affordable housing located in safe, well-resourced communities. This legislation contains one of the most research-based and cost-effective policy tools available to the federal government to dramatically improve upward mobility for the next generation.”
“Early childhood is a critical window of brain and body development,” said Dr. Megan Sandel, pediatrician and Co-Lead Principal Investigator for Children’s HealthWatch. “Our Children’s HealthWatch research and my experience as a pediatrician show a stable home early in life is the foundation for good health. Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers give children and families a fair shot at healthy development during this important period and will have a positive impact on health for generations to come.”
“We can't effectively address hunger without addressing its root causes, including housing instability,” said Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center. “That’s why we fully support the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act. This critical piece of legislation would help build brighter futures for children and families by tearing down systemic barriers that lead to inequality. We call on lawmakers to support this bill to ensure everyone has the foundation and resources they need to thrive.”
Read the text of the bill at: https://bit.ly/42lUICL
Read a press release issued by Senator Van Hollen for additional quotes from OSAH campaign leaders and a list of national organizations that have endorsed the bill: https://bit.ly/4456937
Learn more about the bill at: https://bit.ly/3VdLaaq
Tell Congress to enact this critical bipartisan legislation at: https://p2a.co/uf3pc4a