On NLIHC’s most recent (June 6) national call for the “HoUSed: Universal, Stable, Affordable Housing” campaign, we were joined by U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA), who joined the call to discuss the state of play in Congress for achieving significant investments in affordable housing through the revitalized reconciliation bill currently being negotiated by Democratic leaders in Congress.
“For decades, our country has faced an affordable housing crisis that has harmed countless families and our economy as a whole,” said Chair Waters. “It is unacceptable that today, over 20 million renters have to pay more than half their income on rent, 580,000 people are experiencing homelessness on any given night, and millions are locked out of homeownership. We must continue to push for the long overdue resources for fair and affordable housing that were included in ‘Build Back Better’ and that are central to economic growth and financial stability. As negotiations continue over a slimmed-down reconciliation package, we must ensure that housing remains a top priority.”
NLIHC’s Sarah Saadian built on Chair Waters’s remarks, noting that the window of opportunity for keeping the historic investments in housing vouchers, public housing, and the national Housing Trust Fund in a reconciliation package is closing. Congressional leaders hope to reach a final agreement on the package before July 4, with a final vote before Congress leaves the Capitol on August 5 for its August recess.
Sandra Park from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Maria Roumiantseva from the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC) shared a new joint report from the ACLU and NCCRC on how right-to-counsel laws prevent evictions and mitigate their discriminatory impacts on low-income communities and communities of color. The report found that rates of eviction are significantly lower for tenants who receive legal representation and that providing representation is a cost-effective means of eviction prevention.
NLIHC’s Sophie Siebach-Glover shared a new report from the End Rental Arrears to Stop Evictions (ERASE) project evaluating trends in emergency rental assistance (ERA) spending, reallocation, and the continuing need for additional ERA funding. According to Treasury’s data, nearly half of state ERA grantees could exhaust their ERA funding by the end of 2022. Further, researchers found a significant difference between states in terms of remaining ERA funds per renter household behind on rent: in New York, for example, the amount of remaining funds per renter household is only $1,372, while in Vermont, there are enough remaining ERA funds to provide every renter household with $39,800.
Shakti Robbins-Cubas from the New York Housing Conference provided a field update and shared a new tool, the New York City Housing Tracker, which tracks the development of new affordable housing projects in each city council district in New York City. Francisca Blanc from the Utah Housing Coalition provided an update on Utah’s distribution of emergency rental assistance funds.
National HoUSed campaign calls now occur every other week. Our next call will be held on June 21 from 2:30 to 4:00 pm ET. Register for the call at: tinyurl.com/ru73qan
Watch a recording of the June 6 National Call at: tinyurl.com/ycc689uw
View slides from the June 6 call at: tinyurl.com/48dt865p