By Noelle Porter
October 15, 2018 —
With less than a month to go until the 2018 elections, your TVs, computers, and phones are dominated by candidates telling you where they stand on health care, education, and jobs. It’s important to remember that not one of those issues can be fully resolved without effective solutions to our affordable housing crisis.
MAKING HOUSING A PRIORITY
We have reached a critical point in this country: millions of Americans work full time, many in more than one job, and still can’t afford housing in their communities. Others can’t work because of disability or family circumstances. And many are just one financial emergency away from homelessness.
Stable housing is key to any thriving community — to an individual’s health and to a child’s development. It is the foundation of success at school and at work, and key to ending cycles of incarceration. This means that housing affordability is central to every candidate’s priorities.
Proven solutions to housing instability and homelessness exist, but these federal systems are consistently under-resourced and undercut. We need energy from advocates and commitment from elected officials to sufficiently fund HUD’s assistance programs and implement housing solutions that are to the scale of our crisis.
Over the past several months, there have been encouraging signs that leaders at all levels of government recognize the scope of this need:
- Members of Congress have begun to introduce bold and innovative legislation to reduce rental burdens for low-income Americans, encourage development of new affordable housing stock, and improve the quality of federal affordable housing programs.
- States and localities have introduced ballot measures, reformed zoning policies, and offered tax credits for developers.
- Mayors have partnered with the private sector to address homelessness in cities.
All of these efforts are important, but we’ll need political will to see them enacted. And that doesn’t just come from elected officials — it comes from constituents, too.
KEEPING THE COMMITMENT
There are many important issues at stake in this year’s elections. As we all consider our options, we can’t overlook how essential affordable housing is to each community’s future. Regardless of who is elected, we must hold them accountable in the coming term to deliver on affordable housing.
Housing should be affordable, accessible, and safe. Your community needs your vote AND your voice to make that difference.
Noelle Porter, is a Congressional Relations Associate with the
Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington D.C.