NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel Statement on President Biden’s State of the Union Address
Washington, DC – President Biden delivered last night, March 1, the first State of the Union address of his presidency, calling for increased investments in affordable housing to help counter the harmful impacts of inflation.
“So many families are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to keep up with the rising cost of food, gas, housing, and so much more,” stated President Biden. “My plan includes more affordable housing.”
We cannot solve inflation in America without addressing one of its critical drivers – skyrocketing rents. Nationally, rents are up a record 14 percent, with rents in some metro areas up more than 20 percent. People with the lowest incomes, disproportionately people of color, are the most harmed. With rents rising, homelessness increasing, public housing deteriorating, and millions of families struggling to keep a roof over their heads, federal investments are critically needed and long overdue.
The most immediate opportunity for advancing our goal of enacting robust investments to make housing affordable to the lowest-income and most marginalized households is offered by the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 spending bill, currently being drafted by Congress.
The House spending bill, approved in committee in July 2021, would increase HUD funding by $6.8 billion above FY2021 levels. If enacted, the bill would provide significant funding increases to nearly all HUD programs and would expand rental assistance through the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program to an additional 125,000 households. The Senate proposal would provide HUD approximately $1 billion less than the House proposal and does not include the major expansion of rental assistance. NLIHC urges Congress to enact a final FY2022 spending bill that includes the House proposal to expand Housing Choice Vouchers to an additional 125,000 households.
The reconciliation bill offers another opportunity to invest in quality, affordable, accessible housing for the lowest-income and most marginalized people. The Build Back Better bill includes an historic $150 billion investment in affordable housing, including significant funding for NLIHC’s top priorities, $25 billion to expand rental assistance to an additional 300,000 households; $65 billion to preserve public housing for the nation’s almost 2 million public housing residents; and $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to construct, preserve, and operate more than 150,000 new units of affordable, accessible housing for households with the lowest incomes. If enacted, these provisions would be the largest single investment in our country’s history in quality, affordable, accessible homes for the lowest-income people. Congress must include these essential housing investments in any scaled-back reconciliation bill.
NLIHC applauds President Biden for his support of affordable housing investments to curb inflation and calls on Congress to enact an FY2022 spending bill and a reconciliation bill that provide the funding necessary to ensure quality, affordable, accessible homes for the country’s lowest-income people.
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