Every night, millions of Americans go to sleep without shelter or a place to call home. Millions more are finding it harder to afford their monthly rent or to save up to purchase a home. With state and local housing organizations operating at maximum capacity and emergency shelters already strained, it is imperative that Congress act on a long-term strategy for combatting housing unaffordability. I believe we must invest more in programs, like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, make our public housing stock more environmentally sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change, and increase housing supply to reduce the shortage of housing nationwide, particularly in America’s fastest growing cities.
Making Housing Vouchers Universally Available
As the Puget Sound region continues to grow, housing affordability continues to be a major challenge for individuals and families. Unfortunately, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program remains capped, resulting in long waiting lists for many rent-burdened households—only about 1 in 4 eligible households receive assistance. Housing vouchers are one of the most effective ways to reduce homelessness and help people stay in their homes. I support expanding the housing voucher program to all eligible households. Universal housing vouchers will allow millions of families with low incomes to afford rent, lifting families out of poverty and enabling them to work towards homeownership, save for their children’s education, and keep up with the rising costs of living in major suburban and urban areas.
Expanding the Supply of Affordable Housing
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) leverages private resources and government financing to spur the development of affordable rental housing. I strongly support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would expand and strengthen the Housing Credit to enable it to better serve hard-to-reach communities. This expansion would result in the production of more than 2 million additional affordable homes over the next 10 years, support the creation of 3 million jobs, and generate more than $346 billion of investment in our workers and communities.
Just like roads and bridges, investments in adequate affordable housing are crucial for a healthy economy. I am a co-sponsor of the Housing is Infrastructure Act, which would invest $70 billion to repair public housing and $45 billion to construct new units to address the shortage of affordable options. Investing in repairs now will save billions in the long run and ensure that the shortage of housing does not continue to increase. I also strongly support the Housing Supply and Affordability Act that would provide grant funding to state and local governments in areas experiencing rising housing costs, enabling them to develop a plan to increase housing supply while avoiding the displacement of residents in the area.
Investing in Holistic Permanent Supportive Housing to Reduce Chronic Homelessness
From 2016 to 2021, homelessness has gone up by over five percent and continues to outpace the availability of shelters. Increasing the supply and availability of housing is necessary to address this crisis but improving and expanding holistic services for individuals struggling with housing insecurity is crucially important as well. That is why I support the Ending Homelessness Act, which would invest $10 billion over the next five years in the Housing Trust Fund and McKinney Vento grants and create additional permanent affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness. Importantly, the bill will also provide funding for wrap around support services and case management to connect persons experiencing homelessness to vital services like health care and mental health support.
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More on Housing
|3/16/21||Rep. Smith Introduces Bill to Provide Rental Assistance to Struggling Families Throughout the Pandemic|
|12/29/20||Rep. Smith Introduces Bill to Provide Automatic Rental Assistance to Families in Response to Recessions and Natural Disasters|
|10/1/20||Congressman Smith Applauds House Passage of Updated Heroes Act|