The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) commends U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) for introducing the “Ending Homelessness Act of 2017,” a comprehensive plan to ensure the lowest income people and families America have safe, decent, and affordable homes.
The lack of affordable housing has reached crisis proportions in the U.S. NLIHC’s report, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Housing<http://nlihc.org/research/gap-report>, shows there is a shortage of 7.4 million affordable and available rental homes for America’s 11.4 million extremely low-income (ELI) households, those with incomes less than 30% of their area median income or the poverty guideline. These households include seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and families with children. Only 35 affordable homes are available for every 100 ELI renter households nationally, and a shortage exists in every state and major metropolitan area in the country. Seventy-one percent of ELI renter households spend more than half of their income on rent and utilities. They face impossible choices between paying for rent and covering other basic necessities like food and healthcare. Too many end up homeless.
The Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 would invest $13.27 billion over five years to address shortage of the affordable housing and to combat homelessness. The bill would provide $1 billion annually to the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), the first new affordable housing program in a generation targeted to those most in need, and $50 million each year for rental assistance to be used in conjunction with HTF housing. The bill would provide 410,000 units of new affordable housing for the lowest income households.
In addition to providing more affordable housing, the bill would fund outreach and case management to ensure homeless people are connected to the services they need and would help states and local jurisdictions better align their healthcare and housing interventions. It would also permanently authorize the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness—both of which are essential to ensuring homeless people have access to emergency shelter and services, transitional housing, job training, primary health care, and education.
“The solution to homelessness is an affordable home, and the Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 provides a critical investment in affordable homes for people with the greatest needs,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Having an affordable place to call home transforms lives—giving people the stability they need to achieve economic mobility, improve their health, and allow children do better in school. And investing in affordable housing creates jobs, strengthens communities, and spurs economic growth. We applaud Representative Waters for this landmark legislation.”