In an op-ed published in the New York Daily News, NYHC executive director Rachel Fee and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries called for bold federal solutions to fix America’s housing crisis.
In the op-ed, they called for Section 8 and Section 9 (public housing) funding to be moved to the mandatory side of the federal budget. “This should begin by acknowledging housing is a human right rather than a political issue with funding levels subject to infighting.” Instead, currently three-quarters of eligible households do not receive Section 8 because of insufficient funding.
Fee and Rep. Jeffries note that this move, which would cost a fraction of the Trump tax cuts, would establish a housing safety net, instantly transforming the lives of countless families and cut the national poverty rate by a quarter while also providing much-needed financial security to public housing authorities like NYCHA.
They also call for several other big changes that would address the severe shortage of affordable housing:
- A national 10-year housing production supply goal of 7 million affordable homes, with a new affordable housing taskforce overseeing progress and coordinating among the various federal agencies that would be involved
- Implement President Joe Biden’s campaign plan to invest $640 billion for housing to expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and existing HUD programs
- Exempt private activity bonds from state volume caps when used to preserve HUD-assisted housing
- Allocate additional resources to down payment assistance programs, which would go a long way towards addressing the shameful legacy of discriminatory lending and housing policies.
Taken together, these changes would help usher in a new era in our history: one in which every American, no matter where they live, has access to an affordable home.
Read the op-ed here.