NLIHC Holds Capitol Hill Briefing on the Housing Affordability Crisis in America and Solutions

NLIHC held a Capitol Hill briefing, “Out of Reach: What State and Local Data Tell Us About Solutions to America’s Housing Crisis,” on July 26. The briefing informed more than 70 congressional office staffers on the scope of the national affordable housing crisis; the impact of the affordable housing crisis on Latino communities; the necessity of investing in decent, safe affordable housing; and policy solutions to homelessness and housing poverty.

Andrew Aurand, NLIHC senior vice president of research, provided an overview of NLIHC’s two newest reports, Out of Reach and The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes. Out of Reach compares rents and wages nationally and at state, county and city levels, and shows that both average renter wages and state minimum wages are insufficient for people to afford modest rental apartments across the country. The Gap explores the availability of rental homes affordable to low-income and extremely low-income renters and finds a national shortage of seven million affordable and available homes for the lowest-income households.

Andrew Aurand, NLIHC senior vice president for research

Andrew Aurand, NLIHC senior vice president for research.

Agatha So, UnidosUS senior policy analyst, described the acute impact the shortage of affordable housing has on Latino families. Latino families are regularly subjected to discrimination in the housing market and have the lowest Housing Choice Voucher participation rate of any racial or ethnic group. Ms. So noted also that Latinos disproportionately bear the brunt of high housing costs, and are projected to experience the largest increase in housing cost burden of any racial group in the U.S. in the coming years.  

Agatha So, UnidosUS senior policy analyst

Agatha So, UnidosUS senior policy analyst.

Shalonda Rivers, president of the 22 Avenue Apartments Cordoba Tenant’s Association and a member of NLIHC’s board of directors, spoke about the importance of investing in decent, safe, affordable housing. Sharing photos and videos taken from her own federally-assisted housing complex, Rivers highlighted the dangerous conditions that arise when affordable housing stock does not receive adequate continued federal financial investments and falls into disrepair.

Shalonda Rivers, president of the 22 Avenue Apartments Cordoba Tenant’s Association and a member of NLIHC’s board of directors

Shalonda Rivers, president of the 22 Avenue Apartments Cordoba Tenant’s Association and a member of NLIHC’s board of directors.

NLIHC Senior Policy Director Sarah Mickelson closed the briefing with a review of policy solutions to address the nation’s affordable housing crisis and ensure that the lowest-income renters are able to find decent, stable, accessible, affordable housing. She noted that rental assistance programs help bridge the gap between rents and incomes for low-income families and she emphasized the need to expand the stock of deeply affordable housing. Finally, Ms. Mickelson suggested that emergency assistance for families experiencing a major economic shock would help stabilize households and prevent them from falling into needing more prolonged and extensive assistance or, in the worst cases, homelessness.

Read Out of Reach 2019 at: https://bit.ly/2Ye3Ht7

Read The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes at: https://bit.ly/2UIMWQA

Watch the recording of the briefing at: https://tinyurl.com/y4lhx447