A U.S. House committee recently passed a robust housing and homeless budget bill – a clear bipartisan rejection of President Trump’s adverse position on affordable housing investments and policy.
Let’s continue spreading this positive energy through the Opportunity Starts at Home Week of Action May 30 to June 5. The timing actually seems to line up with federal budget conversations and we want housing to be front and center.
During this year’s Housing Week of Action, be a brave and bold voice! Please call your member of Congress, Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown to advocate for affordable housing resources.
Specifically, ask your U.S. House member to pass the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill with funding levels as high or higher than the bill recently approved by the Appropriations subcommittee. Then ask Sen. Brown and Sen. Portman to fund housing and homeless programs at the levels set in the House’s appropriations bill.
Also, please ask them to lift the spending caps for non-defense discretionary spending so that housing and community development programs can be protected and expanded.
You can also help get the message out via social media. Check out the Our Homes Our Voices website, which provides helpful tips for getting media attention for your events, along with op-ed templates, draft media advisories, and social media posts. Tools for Week of Action events are being uploaded to the Resources page on an ongoing basis. The Congressional Toolkit, for example, makes it easy for members of Congress to participate in Week of Action.
Planning an event of your own? Register your event at www.ourhomes-ourvoices/current-events. If you have questions as you contact the media about your event, or you would like additional assistance, please contact NLIHC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THUD Appropriations Bill: At this point in time, the House’s budget bill provides enough funding to renew all existing contracts provided through Housing Choice Vouchers ($23.8 billion) and Project-Based Rental Assistance ($12.59 billion). Beyond rental assistance, the House subcommittee bill provides robust increases to most programs. The HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) ($1.75 billion) receives the largest increase, along with Community Development Block Grants ($3.6 billion), Native American Housing Block Grants ($855 million), and Choice Neighborhoods ($300 million). Homeless Assistance Grants ($2.8 billion), Section 202 Housing for the Elderly ($803 million), Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities ($259 million), and the Public Housing Operating Fund ($4.75 billion) received increased funding as well.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website has a lot more information on the federal budget.
Only one out of every four families in need receive housing assistance. And, our nation’s affordable housing infrastructure is deteriorating and is often inaccessible to people with disabilities. With the growing affordability challenges coupled with the existing shortage of affordable homes for the most economically vulnerable families we must expand not reduce federal funding for proven HUD and USDA programs.