National Low Income Housing Coalition
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reintroduced on March 13 an ambitious proposal, the “American Housing and Economic Mobility Act,” to address the nation’s dire shortage of affordable housing. The bill directly addresses the underlying cause of the affordable housing crisis – the severe shortage of affordable rental homes for people with the lowest incomes – through a robust investment in the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF). The bill would also expand protections under the Fair Housing Act to ban housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income. And the proposal would create new incentives for local governments to reduce barriers that drive up the cost of housing, thereby encouraging the private sector to do more to address the housing needs of the middle class.
Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ed Markey (D-MA). The bill has a House companion bill cosponsored Democratic Representatives Cedric Richmond (LA), Elijah Cummings (MD), Gwen Moore (WI), Barbara Lee (CA), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Susan Wild (PA), Mark Pocan (WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Steve Cohen (TN), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Jamie Raskin (MD), Ro Khanna (CA), Joseph Kennedy (D-MA), and Suzanne Bonamici (OR).
“The proposal expands investments in proven solutions – like the national Housing Trust Fund – at the scale necessary to help millions of the lowest income families who today face impossible choices between paying rent and putting food on the table, buying medication, or saving for a rainy day,” stated Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “Congress should quickly enact this ambitious bill to help end homelessness and housing poverty once and for all.”
The core of the legislation is a 10-year federal investment of $45 billion annually in the HTF. The HTF is the first new federal housing resource in a generation exclusively targeted to increase the supply of housing affordable to people with the lowest incomes who face the most severe impacts of the housing crisis. NLIHC’s new report, Getting Started, shows how HTF resources are being used by states to build, rehabilitate and preserve homes for extremely low-income households. NLIHC’s The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes report finds a national shortage of 7 million rental homes for America’s 11 million extremely low-income households. As a result, 71% of these households pay more than half of their limited incomes on rent.