Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) released on June 16 an updated “Dear Colleague” letter calling for inclusion of bold investments in affordable housing programs in any infrastructure package. The letter highlights the urgent need for substantial affordable housing investment as part of the “Build Back Better” infrastructure package and calls on the Biden administration to include the top priorities of the HoUSed campaign:
- A major expansion of housing vouchers to pave the way toward universal rental assistance
- $70 billion to address the Public Housing repair backlog
- $45 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund, of which $26 billion should be reserved for permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness
The letter urges the Biden administration to consider these three principal recommendations as minimum housing investments to ensure the infrastructure package delivers broad, equitable benefit to all Americans. “Without proportional affordable housing investments,” write Senator Merkley and Representative Torres, “there is no path for an equitable recovery and long-term financial stability for low- and middle-income American families.”
The letter comes at a pivotal time in infrastructure negotiations. A bipartisan group of 21 senators has expressed support for a roughly $1 trillion proposal focused primarily on roads, bridges, railways, and airports. The proposal lacks the robust investments needed to meaningfully address the nation’s affordable housing crisis. Some Senate Democrats have expressed interest in pursuing a two-step infrastructure proposal, with one bill containing bipartisan provisions that can pass through regular order, and a second with other provisions from President Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” and “American Families Plan” that would require budget reconciliation in order to pass the Senate.
It is more urgent than ever for advocates to demand that their members of Congress include the HoUsed campaign’s top priorities in any infrastructure package. Please call your senators and representatives today and ask them to sign onto Senator Merkley and Representative Torres’s “Dear Colleague” letter to show their support for including robust affordable housing investments in the infrastructure package. Senators can sign onto the letter by contacting Matt Traylor ([email protected]) and representatives can sign on by contacting Christopher Jerrolds ([email protected]) in Congressman Torres’s office. You can find your members of Congress here.
You can also join over 1,000 organizations supporting the HoUSed campaign’s infrastructure priorities by signing your organization on to a national letter in support of these bold solutions at: https://tinyurl.com/zbau4kee
Learn more about the HoUSed campaign and get involved at: https://nlihc.org/housed
Read the “Dear Colleague” letter at: https://tinyurl.com/73ph9l3yb