The 118th Congress kicked off on January 3, 2023, with Republicans in charge of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democrats in control of the Senate. A divided Congress may pose a challenge for passing effective solutions to homelessness, but advocates should not lose hope. NLIHC will continue to advocate for the bold policy goals of our HoUSed campaign, and we have an opportunity this year to work with Congress to pass bipartisan solutions to make real progress in addressing housing issues. Those bipartisan opportunities include improving oversight, increasing economic mobility, streamlining programs, and cutting red tape.

NLIHC’s HoUSed Campaign

The HoUSed campaign calls on Congress to take action to achieve the large-scale, sustained investments and anti-racist reforms necessary to ensure that the lowest-income and most marginalized renters have an affordable place to call home. To achieve these ambitious goals, Congress must:

  1. Bridge the gap between incomes and housing costs by expanding rental assistance to every eligible household.
  2. Expand and preserve the supply of rental homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes.
  3. Provide emergency rental assistance to households in crisis by creating a national housing stabilization fund.
  4. Strengthen and enforce renter protections to address the power imbalance between renters and landlords that puts renters at risk of housing instability.

Bipartisan Opportunities

For decades, NLIHC has worked with Republicans and Democrats to address homelessness and housing poverty. In the 118th Congress, there are opportunities to advance bipartisan and bicameral legislation to help address homelessness and housing poverty.

In the wake of the pandemic, federal housing investments are more critical than ever to sustain our communities and help low-income people achieve economic stability. By prioritizing federal investments for households with the greatest needs, Congress can ensure that limited federal dollars are used most effectively to address the underlying causes of the housing crisis: the severe shortage of homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes and the widening gap between incomes and housing costs.

Here are some of the aims and bipartisan bills for which NLIHC will be advocating this year:

Ensuring Greater Targeting and Oversight of Federal Disaster Resources

Congress should enact bipartisan legislation to permanently authorize HUD’s long-term disaster recovery program to provide greater oversight and deeper targeting of resources. The “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act” (S.2471/H.R.4707), introduced in the last session by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Representative Al Green (D-TX), would permanently authorize the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program and provide important safeguards and tools to help ensure that federal disaster recovery efforts reach the lowest-income and most marginalized disaster survivors. Because the program is not currently authorized, HUD must issue new rules through a Federal Register Notice whenever Congress provides long-term disaster funding, slowing down the distribution of funds and preventing states and municipalities from anticipating and preparing for the receipt of funding before disasters occur.

Increasing Economic Mobility

Congress should enact the “Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act” (S.1991) to better connect low-income families to economic and educational opportunities.

The bill, introduced by Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in the last session, creates 500,000 housing vouchers specifically targeted to low-income families with young children and provides mobility counseling services to help families move to communities of their choice, including communities with high-performing schools, strong job prospects, and other resources. The legislation could largely eliminate homelessness among families with young children, as well as substantially reduce the number of children growing up in areas of concentrated poverty.

The Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act appeals to near-universal beliefs about the importance of equal opportunity and economic mobility, efficiently targets families shown to benefit the most, and is built around specific, research-tested best practices proven to work in the field.

Focusing on Cost-Effective Prevention Tools

By enacting the “Eviction Crisis Act” (S.2182) introduced in the last session by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) in the Senate and Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) in the House (H.R.8327), Congress can provide emergency, short-term assistance to help stabilize households in crisis, building on lessons learned from and the infrastructure developed during the pandemic to keep families stably housed.

Evictions push families deeper into poverty, harming health outcomes, educational attainment, and more. When these households have an emergency, they need focused, short-term help, not a one-way ticket to further housing instability. The Eviction Crisis Act allows Congress to create a permanent, cost-effective tool to provide short-term assistance to stabilize households before they face evictions and homelessness and to reduce the associated harms and costs to individuals and communities.

Reforming and Streamlining Existing Programs

Congress has the opportunity this year to streamline and improve the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. For example, Congress should consolidate the more than 2,400 public housing authorities that administer the Housing Choice Voucher program to help reduce administrative costs and improve the experience for households.

Congress should also enact the bipartisan “Choice in Affordable Housing Act,” introduced in the last session by Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) in the Senate (S.1820) and Representative John Katko (R-NY) and Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) in the House (H.R.6880). The bill focuses on bipartisan reforms to reduce inspection delays, create landlord incentives, and facilitate recruitment efforts with local property owners. Reducing burdensome delays will allow landlords to help families that need housing assistance the most while promoting accountability to reduce bad actors.

Cutting Red Tape to Build More Housing

There is a tremendous opportunity this year for Congress to incentivize state and local governments to reduce or eliminate restrictive zoning and land use requirements that drive up housing costs and constrict the supply of housing, especially in markets with significant growth in demand for housing.

Congress can incentivize these reforms by tying federal transportation and infrastructure funds to better zoning outcomes.

Congress should also enact the “Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act,” introduced in the last session by Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in the Senate (S.1614) and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Representative Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) in the House (H.R.3198), to require HUD CDBG grantees to report on actions taken to address zoning and land use barriers. Developers are often burdened with regulations that delay new housing and further restrict communities’ economic development. The YIMBY Act would cut red tape that prevents the development of affordable housing.


Despite the divided Congress, there is strong reason to hope that policymakers can advance bipartisan legislation this year to help tackle our nation’s affordable housing crisis. NLIHC stands ready to work with all members of Congress to enact bipartisan solutions that help move our nation toward achieving the HoUSed campaign goal of ensuring safe and affordable housing for everyone.