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Posts Tagged ‘Housing’

What is the Faircloth Amendment?

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

The U.S. Government has been providing affordable, permanent housing for over 1.8 million families through public housing. Public housing serves a critical role in the nation’s rental market, providing stable, affordable homes for households with low incomes. The families who live in public housing include some of the nation’s most disadvantaged citizens, including older adults, people with disabilities, and working families with young children. 

Not to be confused with other housing subsidy programs, public housing is housing stock that is owned by HUD (U.S. Government) and administered by local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single-family houses to high rise apartments for elderly families. 

In 1998, through the Faircloth Amendment, the U.S. Government created an artificial barrier by limiting the number of public housing units that federal authorities could build and has resulted in many people being left without a home. This amendment prevents any net increase in public housing stock from the number of units as of October 1, 1999. Simply put, the Faircloth Amendment sets a cap on the number of units any public housing authority (PHA) could own and operate, effectively halting new construction of public housing. This prevents policymakers from using a vital tool, building more permanent affordable housing, to address our nation’s growing housing and homelessness crisis.

In the two decades since the Faircloth Amendment passed, rent costs have skyrocketed while average incomes have not. The median inflation-adjusted rent has increased 13.0 percent since 2001, while the median inflation-adjusted renter’s income has only increased 0.5 percent during that same period. This obstacle in creating more affordable housing that the amendment created, is happening while there is a $70 billion backlog in funding for maintenance and repairs to existing public housing stock.

Repeal the Faircloth Amendment Act

There are many pieces of legislation that would Repeal the Faircloth Amendment, overturning the 1998 law so there would no longer be a federal limit on creation of new public housing. These are bills currently introduced in Congress that would repeal Faircloth: H.R. 659, H.R. 7191, H.R. 5385, H.R. 2664, H.R. 4497, S. 1218, S. 2234.

Repealing the Faircloth Amendment would not only eliminate a physical ban, but also:

  • Repealing the Faircloth Amendment would not only eliminate a physical ban that has barred access to affordable housing for more than twenty years, but it would also allow for communities, tenants and PHAs to reimagine how building more public housing with permanent affordability could create opportunities for seniors to rest and families to thrive. 
  • Intentionally designing and planning to have public housing integrated in the community where residents thrive in their neighborhoods, where they have access to opportunity, where there’s jobs, resources and public parks can be accomplished, but first Faircloth must be repealed.
  • While few funds are currently dedicated toward new public housing construction, lifting the prohibition from the Faircloth Amendment lays the groundwork for a net increase in the supply of public housing, a crucial step in increased aggregate housing supply.
  • It is not an either fully fund current public housing OR repeal the Faircloth Amendment to create new public housing, it is an AND. Repeal the Faircloth Amendment to remove the barrier to create new public housing AND fully fund PHAs to properly maintain safe, decent, accessible, and affordable housing units that they currently hold.

Congress should uncuff itself from the restraints that the Faircloth Amendment has put on this country’s ability to create affordable housing. Public housing is critical to addressing the nation’s poverty crisis. As a long-term asset, public housing provides decent housing to the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, connects low-income workers to economic opportunities, and spurs regional job creation and economic growth.

Are the American People Getting What They Voted For?

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

by Kelvin Lassiter

As the country emerges from the shutdowns surrounding the pandemic, Americans have become inpatient. Promises made regarding voting rights, paid time off, and tax hikes on the wealthy to pay for much needed infrastructure have not come to pass. 

Now, after several months of negotiations, the president’s original $3.5 trillion-dollar spending measure for the infrastructure bill and the social spending package has now been reduced in price tag to $1.75 trillion dollars (read the text of the Build Back Better bill). Some of the highlights of the bill include:

  • 150 billion in housing investments
  • Extension of the Child Tax Credit for one year
  • 100 billion to reduce immigration backlogs
  • Expansion of health care coverage that will save nine million Americans $600 a year on their premiums

Things left out of the final framework:

  • Paid family leave
  • Clean Electricity Performance Program
  • Ability for the government to negotiate with drug companies for Medicare also won’t be allowed.

While the American people appreciate the efforts for the things that will remain in the bill, it is severely underfunded, and will affect our housing insecure population for generations. The cities of New York and Los Angeles combined need at least 150 billion alone to being their public housing infrastructure up to code. Also, eliminating the ability for the government to negotiate drug prices is damaging. Who wants to make the choice to pay for medicine, or pay to survive without medicine?

In his latest remarks, President Biden reminded the country that this bill is historic, and an investment in the American people. Not everybody got everything they wanted including me, but that’s what compromise, and democracy is. While his remarks are true, the American people counted on lower drug prices, lower housing costs, clean air, and paid family leave to survive. Are the American people getting what they voted for? It remains to be seen, stay tuned.

HOUSING IS INFRASTRUCTURE

Written by admin on . Posted in Action Alert

Bring America Home Now Campaign Supports the Build Back Better Act

Bring America Home Now: A Comprehensive Grassroots Campaign to End Homelessness in the U.S. is led by people who have themselves experienced homelessness and is focused on the passage of federal legislation aimed at addressing the interconnected solutions to the decades-long epidemic of homelessness in the United States. 

Bring America Home is focused on six key policy areas: 

  • Housing
  • Health
  • Livable incomes 
  • Education/Training 
  • Civil Rights 
  • Racial Equity

Bring America Home, therefore, supports Build Back Better as it includes important provisions within many of the Campaign’s core elements. Specifically, if passed, the Build Back Better Act would help move us toward the goal of preventing and ending homelessness by making significant investments in Housing Choice Vouchers, the Housing Trust Fund, rural rental housing, HOME, and CDBG programs. Additionally, the Act contains important provisions around zoning, fair housing protections, and addressing homeownership disparities through a down payment fund. Beyond housing, Bring Back Better further seeks to secure broader economic security, as envisioned by the Campaign, through job training and workforce investments, an expansion of the child tax credit, extending family leave, and increasing childcare options. 

It is urgent to act. To ensure the inclusion of these critical investments in Build Back Better, it is necessary your Senator and Representative hear from you immediately. Call Now and express your support for these provisions within the Bring Back Better Act. To find your representative and Senators, click here: GovTrack.us: Tracking the U.S. Congress or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121

For more information on Bring America Home Now

National Coalition for the Homeless Bring America Home NOW! – National Coalition for the Homeless (nationalhomeless.org)

Bring America Home NOW logo

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