Two major pieces of bipartisan legislation, both of which have been championed by NLIHC’s multi-sector Opportunity Starts at Home campaign – the “Eviction Crisis Act” and the “Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act” – were introduced in the Senate in the final weeks of 2019. Please urge advocates in your networks to send pre-formatted letters calling on their elected officials to support these bills. Submit your letters here and here.
The introduction of these bills is a significant milestone in advancing Opportunity Starts at Home’s policy agenda. The bipartisan nature of these bills – especially in the current political climate – speaks volumes about the growing recognition that housing is inextricably linked to nearly every measure of having a quality life. In 2020, the campaign looks forward to spreading the word, raising awareness, and building multi-sector support to get these bills enacted.
On December 12, Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH), along with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Todd Young (R-IN), introduced the “Eviction Crisis Act” (S.3030), which contains the campaign’s proposal for an emergency rental assistance program that would provide direct financial assistance and stability services to help the lowest-income households stay stably housed during an unforeseen economic shock. This innovative policy solution was developed and championed by the campaign, which worked closely with the bill’s sponsors. On the day of the bill’s introduction, the New York Times published an in-depth article about the legislation and the rationale behind emergency rental assistance to avert eviction and homelessness.
Just one week later, on December 18, Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the “Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act” (S.3083), which would create 500,000 new housing vouchers specifically designed for low-income families with young children to expand their access to neighborhoods of opportunity with high-performing schools, strong job prospects, and other resources. This exact proposal was recommended in the campaign’s policy agenda, and members of the campaign’s Legislative Working Group advocated most of 2019 to get it introduced in Congress. The bill contains one of the most research-based and cost-effective policy tools available to the federal government to expand access to stable, affordable homes, largely eliminate homelessness among families with young kids, promote racially and economically integrated neighborhoods, and dramatically improve upward mobility for low-income children.
Please urge Congress to enact both bills quickly!