House Financial Services Subcommittee Holds Field Hearing on Housing Policy

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services (HFSC) Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance held a field hearing, “Restoring Prosperity in American Communities: Examining the Failures of Status Quo Housing Policy,” on February 22. The hearing took place at the Rockland County Legislature in New City, New York. The hearing addressed the challenges of current housing policies in New York and explored reforms that would address the housing crisis.

Witnesses included the Honorable Teresa M. Kenny, supervisor of Orangetown, NY; John Ketcham, fellow and director of cities at the Manhattan Institute; Ralph D. Amicucci on behalf of the New York Chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management; and Leah Goodridge, managing attorney for housing policy at Mobilization for Justice.

The subcommittee and witnesses highlighted the severity of the housing affordability crisis in Rockland County, New York. Witnesses spoke about the importance of building more affordable housing to reduce poverty and improve economic development. Witnesses also suggested that rising costs are driven by a lack of supply exacerbated by barriers to development and burdensome laws that make it challenging to build housing at almost any price point, and particularly at prices affordable to low-income families.

“Housing has already been too expensive, and now inventory is limited,” said Subcommittee Chair Warren Davidson (R-OH) in his opening statement. Ms. Goodridge urged Congress to enact the “Housing Crisis Response Act of 2023” (H.R.4233). The NLIHC-endorsed legislation would provide more than $150 billion in critical investments to help low-income renters afford the cost of rent. If enacted, this legislation would amount to the single largest investment in affordable housing in our nation’s history, creating nearly 1.4 million affordable and accessible homes and helping nearly 300,000 households afford their rent.

Mr. Amicucci expressed his support for the NLIHC-endorsed “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” (S. 32, H.R. 4606), a bipartisan bill to expand access to affordable housing options by removing barriers to landlord participation in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Mr. Amicucci also recommended increasing the number of HCVs, emphasizing that many municipalities have waiting lists requiring potential participants to wait years to enter the program.

Watch a recording of the full hearing and read the witnesses’ testimonies here.