Working Americans are facing a housing crisis. Eleven million of us pay over half our income for rent, and by 2025 that number could be at over fifteen million. At the same time, low-income housing has fallen by more than 60 percent since 2010. Housing is too expensive, and there’s not enough of it to go around.
That’s not all. Our public housing has $26 billion in unmet renovation needs, and our fellow Americans are suffering in winter when their worn-out heating systems fail. But the National Housing Trust Fund receives just $200 million dollars a year, and President Trump has proposed eliminating funding for it altogether.
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) gives states and localities the ability to make almost $8 billion in tax credits for the acquisition, rehabilitation, and new construction of low-income rental housing. It is our most important tool in increasing the stock of affordable housing, is capped far below the level of need for millions of Americans. When there’s not enough affordable housing to go around, local governments end up having to make an impossible choice between breaking up communities or letting them stay in disintegrating homes.
We can do better. I support Representative Suzan DelBene’s Access to Affordable Housing Act, which would increase the LIHTC by fifty percent. That would result in as many as 400,000 more affordable housing units over the next ten years, easing the shortages that force families and communities to make impossible choices. I also support the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act; that would increase the program’s ability to serve Americans who are most in need, and it would help to preserve existing affordable housing stock. And I know that we need to boost funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, so that we can provide desperately needed assistance to families.
In the richest country in the world, no one should have to choose between paying for food or paying rent. And with the right leadership in Congress, this is a crisis we can solve.