On the most recent (March 13) National HoUSed Campaign Call, we discussed President Biden’s fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget; research detailing the relationship between housing supply and homelessness; an advocacy campaign to support affordable housing through opinion pieces; and ongoing litigation that could end the rental protections program in New York.
NLIHC Vice President of Policy and Field Organizing Sarah Saadian led the call with an in-depth overview of President Biden’s and HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge’s proposed budget for FY2024. The budget calls for an increase in funding for affordable housing, as well as major housing investments through mandatory spending. If enacted, the budget would provide increased funding for rental assistance programs for veterans, youths aging out of foster care, and extremely low-income households and would expand resources for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), among other things.
However, House Republicans remain dedicated to limiting government spending in FY2024. While no numbers have been released yet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has discussed capping funding at FY2022 levels, which could mean a $130 billion cut from domestic programs. If defense and veteran health programs are exempt from cuts, as the House Speaker has promised they would be, affordable housing programs could face cuts of up to 24%. Advocates must tell their members of Congress that such cuts are unacceptable and will only worsen the nation’s affordable housing crisis. Stakeholders can use NLIHC’s advocacy toolkit, complete with sample opinion pieces and social media messages, to send a message to congressional representatives. Local, state, tribal, territorial, and national organizations are also invited to sign on to a national 302(b) letter for the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) that urges Congress to provide the highest funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs in FY2024 and to reject any spending cuts.
Casey Dawkins, a professor of urban studies and planning at the University of Maryland, discussed his recent research examining the relationship between housing supply and homelessness. The research finds that cities with political preferences for restricting land use also tend to favor other restrictive measures, like homelessness criminalization and the defunding of housing programs, that have greater impacts on adult homelessness than restrictive land use alone. Importantly, the number of adults experiencing homelessness also declines with new construction and a more elastic housing supply. With data connecting homelessness and the availability of housing stock, advocates can effectively use this research to steer policymakers toward funding essential affordable housing programs.
Anne Sosin of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition highlighted a new initiative to teach tenants and other advocates to write opinion pieces in support of affordable housing. Coalition members held workshops using evidence and best practices from other states and created writing groups to support op-ed writers. Advocates can utilize this method to engage with the public by sharing their success stories and amplifying the need for expanding affordable housing.
Staff attorney Ellen Davidson of the Legal Aid Society of New York informed the audience of a threat to New York’s 1974 rent control protections. In 2019, loopholes created by landlords to minimize tenants’ rights were deemed illegal by the Second Circuit Court of New York. In response, the real estate industry created four cases, against both the 1974 law and the 2019 amendments, despite the Supreme Court’s clear stance on the matter. In the Chip v. NYC case, the Second Circuit Court judges carefully outlined their reasoning to justify the legislature’s authority and why such protections are necessary. Despite this, the real estate industry is attempting to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the law. The New York rental protection law is the basis for good cause laws across the country, so overturning it could be detrimental for tenants nationwide.
National HoUSed campaign calls take place every other week. Our next call will be held on March 27 at 2:30 pm ET. Register for the call at: https://tinyurl.com/ru73qan