Join Evicted Author Matthew Desmond for the Make Room National Campaign Launch

desmond_matthewMake Room—in partnership with NLIHC and other national leaders—is launching an exciting national campaign to send 1 million messages to Congress about the critical need to end housing insecurity in America. Through the November elections, national, state, and local organizations will share a common message: our nation is facing a housing affordability crisis of record proportions that demands Congressional leadership.

Join Us!

Campaign Kickoff Call
Special Guest: Matthew Desmond,
Author of 
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Monday, August 1, 2016
4:00 PM EST

RSVP HERE

All organizations and advocates are invited to join the campaign kickoff call to learn more about how to get involved. Please share this information widely.

MakeRoomMake Room is a partnership between Enterprise Community Partners, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, CohnReznick LLP, and others to give voice to struggling renters and elevate rental housing on the agendas of our nation’s leaders. For more details about Make Room and the campaign, see Make Room’s website.

 

Congress at Home, Advocates Should Urge Action in Fall

 

Will you be meeting with you representatives this month while they are in district?  Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are on recess during the month of August, resuming legislative business on Monday, September 8. While they are in their home districts and with most House Members and 27 Senators seeking reelection in November, housing and homeless advocates should take the opportunity to remind them of the work they have left to do before the end of the 113th Congress.

A top “must pass” item is the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act (PTFA). The current PTF law expires at the end of 2014. Unless it is made permanent or extended by December 31, many tenants whose landlords or property owners lose their properties to foreclosure will no longer have federal protections against imminent eviction. The laws governing tenant rights will revert to the array of state laws on the status of tenants at foreclosure, most of which still offer less protection than the federal law. S. 1761 and H.R. 3543 are the two Permanently Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure bills that need a vehicle for enactment this year.

Congress also must complete its FY15 HUD and USDA Rural Housing Appropriations bills. The Senate and the House will delay finalizing these bills until after the November election, but all Members need to hear that you expect funding at the levels in the bills that have cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee.

While no further action is likely on either housing finance reform or tax reform, advocates should stress that when Congress does act on these issues in the 114th Congress that robust funding for the National Housing Trust Fund must be included.

For more information on these issues and more, go to http://nlihc.org/issues.

The Housing We Need

President Barack Obama released his FY14 budget request to Congress yesterday, which includes $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund on the mandatory side of the budget and the partial restoration of funding for some HUD programs.

As housing advocates know, the shortage of rental housing affordable to the lowest income Americans is a growing, and ongoing, problem. Our nation needs a federal housing policy that provides the path forward to ending homelessness and ensuring extremely low income people have access to the housing they need. Unfortunately, the past three budget cycles have amounted to a shifting of cuts around different HUD programs.

We cannot achieve our bold vision of ensuring that the lowest income Americans have access to decent, affordable housing if all of our energy as advocates is spent protecting existing programs from constant threat of cut. Meanwhile, 7.1 million low income families are without the affordable rental housing they need.

That is why we support funding the National Housing Trust Fund through revenue from modifications to the mortgage interest deduction. The National Housing Trust Fund is not meant to replace existing federal housing programs, like public housing and Housing Choice Vouchers, it is meant to augment them. The National Housing Trust Fund is the only federal program that would close the gap between the number of extremely low income renter households and the number of rental units affordable and available to them.

Building the housing necessary to end the rental shortage for those 7.1 million renter households may sound like a stretch, until you realize that the federal government has the resources necessary to do this- they just have to be used a smarter way. Our proposal to fund the National Housing Trust Fund uses existing housing resources, through modifications to the mortgage interest deduction, to direct revenue to the middle and lower income people who most need help with their housing costs. It’s a common sense solution to the nation’s greatest housing challenges. We hope you’ll support it.

News Round-Up: The Affordable Housing Shortage, Explained

Sequestration is already having a clear impact on low income renters across the U.S. As Fox 5 DC reported, the DC Housing Authority is already making tough choices to balance the cuts required by sequestration with the agency’s mission to house the lowest income residents of DC. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the housing agency in that city is in the process of cancelling vouchers recently issued to low income families, taking away vouchers from households that had not already found an apartment during the period allowed.

While sequestration will reduce the amount of affordable rental housing made available by the federal government, market conditions are the cause of the majority of the existing housing shortage. Affordable Housing Finance explains that severe housing cost burden- where low income renters pay 50% or more of their income for rent- is a problem in every state in the nation. As Progress Illinois explains, many in that state pay more than half their income for rent, leaving little left for other necessities like food or medical care.

The Washington Examiner takes us back to the nation’s capitol with a video on what the rental housing shortage means for those who are trying to escape homelessness. An article in the Stamford Advocate shows the struggle both low and moderate income households go through when attempting to rent in America’s highest-cost cities.

What does sequestration mean for housing?

As housing advocates know, the impacts of sequestration will be felt most deeply by America’s poorest individuals and families. But how big will the cuts be? How will HUD and other agencies handle them? What can advocates like us do to ask Congress to replace sequestration with a more balanced approach to the budget?

NLIHC just created two pages on its website with all the information you need to help you understand sequestration from a housing perspective.

First, we’ve compiled a page on sequestration with links to all the necessary HUD, Obama administration, and Office of Management and Budget information. We also include links to resources from other organizations, like the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. We’ll update this page regularly as agencies post new guidance and other information on sequestration becomes available.

Second, the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, a coalition of over 70 national organizations staffed by NLIHC, has its own sequestration resources specially created for housing and community development advocates. On our CHCDF sequestration page, you’ll find talking points, a Twitter campaign, and in-depth information about the housing impacts of sequestration.

Sequestration was never supposed to happen; it was a “stick” Members of Congress adopted as a way to force themselves to negotiate a budget deal. The stick didn’t work, and now we’re living with the consequences. It will be crucial for all of us to advocate this month– beginning today– for the damaging impacts of sequestration to be minimal and short-lived. Take a look at our sequestration resources, join our National Call-In Day today, and encourage your colleagues and friends to join you in this fight for a more balanced approach to the federal budget.