NATIONALHOMELESS.ORG
Twitter Facebook Instagram YouTube

Posts Tagged ‘Policy Advocacy’

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.

Position Statement on Sanctioned Encampments

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

There are cities throughout the United States moving displaced citizens onto public land typically in tents calling these locations “sanctioned encampments.” It is the position of the National Coalition for the Homeless that housing is a human right which is defined as a safe, affordable, accessible place to call a home. The issue is that by identifying a “sanctioned encampment” cities by default are declaring that there are “unsanctioned” encampments.  NCH does not believe that people who are experiencing a period of homelessness should become involved with law enforcement while trying to survive. 

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan
  • It should go without saying, but in the current divided society with words being distorted to become propaganda for those who want to make it illegal to be without housing, we must say that a tent is not a permanent solution to homelessness.  Secure, safe, accessible and affordable housing should be available to every family or single individual who requests a place to live. 
  • In a free society, a person should be able to congregate with others and peacefully assemble in groups of their choosing not forced to live where the municipal government decides with neighbors of their choosing.
  • No one should be forced by any authority or coerced to choose between a place with large numbers packed together or face criminalization for being homeless and living without shelter. Whether this is forcing someone into a congregate living facility that strips a person of their dignity or sending them to a government sanctioned site to pitch a tent, people living in the United States have always cherished the free will to not be told what neighborhood or municipality to reside in by government or government funded organizations.
  • Persons who refuse forced entry into any facility must not be categorized as “service resistant” and thereby face incarceration or exclusion from services. They should receive trauma informed care by trained professionals and be met with services they request not services forced on them. 
  • In the current environment in which municipal governments have largely given up on affordable housing solutions to homelessness and instead resorted to using law enforcement as the primary point of contact for those without housing, we see a broader trend in which the mere offer of any kind of assistance or social service is enough for local governments and law enforcement to justify penalty, arrest or a threat to withdraw a person’s liberty for those who reject the help.  We believe that sanctioned encampments will be used as permanent placements for local jurisdictions to avoid providing safe, affordable, accessible and permanent housing.
  • Sanctioned encampments are an inexpensive alternative to building housing or shelters that serve the needs of those individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness. 
  • Local governments should not act as nannies for adults and force them to a segregated section of town to live under a set of rules developed by strangers under threat of arrest if the taxpayer strays from the sanctioned encampment.  

At least 2020 ends with a budget deal and pandemic relief

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

This year has been filled with unpredictability and turmoil. Our way of life has been negatively impacted. We have been forced to distance ourselves from those we love, our co-workers, and our traditions. 

COVID-19 has been incredibly challenging for people experiencing homelessness. Economists estimate that homelessness could increase by up to 32% as a result of COVID-19 related issues.  

With your help, we have been pushing Congress to include both short and long-term housing and other economic relief for everyday people. We are encouraged by the relief package and omnibus budget signed into law by the President this week.

This new $900 Billion COVID-19 relief plan includes:

  • $25 billion for rental assistance (click here see how much your state will receive)
  • Extends the  federal eviction moratorium for 1 month and use of CARES funding set to expire on 12/30/20 to 12/31/21.
  • $13 billion for enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
  • Provides direct payments of  at least $600 to adults and $600 per child. Families with incomes under $75,000/year. (Two parent household up to $150,000)
  • $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program /small business loans. 
  • $20 billion for small business grants and $15 billion for live event venues.
  • $300 billion for federal unemployment supplement and temporarily keep in place pandemic-era programs that expanded unemployment insurance eligibility, this will allow 12 million people to remain on  unemployment insurance and enhance the 11 weeks of benefits by $300/week.
  • $20  billion for purchase of  vaccines, $8 billion for disbursement of vaccines and also provides relief to hospitals.
  • $82 billion for schools and colleges.
  • $10 Billion Child Care Assistance

The omnibus Fiscal Year 2021 budget passed includes:

  • A permanent, minimum 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit rate, as well as disaster housing credits for qualified states, which could result in the addition of more than 130,000 units of affordable housing;
  • A five-year extension of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) at $5 billion for a total of $25 billion in new NMTC authority;
  • $4.839 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund;
  • $3 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants; and
  • $2.765 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund.
  • The 2020 CoC NOFA is postponed and current programs will be re-funded for one year (which we have pushed for since early in the pandemic!)

We still need more, both short and long term housing and other supports for everyday folks who have been impacted most by the pandemic and resulting economic downturn. We look forward to the new Congress and Administration focusing more on these issues as we move into a new decade!

NATIONALHOMELESS.ORG

National Coalition for the Homeless | 2201 P St NW, Washington, DC 20037 | (202) 462-4822 | info [at] nationalhomeless [dot] org
© 2020 National Coalition for the Homeless | Privacy Policy
Wildcard SSL Certificates
Powered by Warp Theme Framework