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ICYMI: Ranking Member Waters, House Democrats, Housing Advocates Sound Alarm on Affordable Housing Crisis Ahead of State of the Union


Yesterday, ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union address, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, along with Representatives Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Wiley Nickel (D-NC), Brittany Pettersen (D-CO), Jonathan Jackson (D-IL), and dozens of national housing advocates hosted a press conference to call on President Biden to put housing front and center in his agenda for the country’s future. 

Last week, Waters sent a request to the White House calling on the President to include a focus on our nation’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis as part of his address to the nation. During the address, the President indeed highlighted his goal to invest in affordable housing and bring down the exorbitant prices of rent and mortgages. 

In addition, Democrats and housing advocates highlighted key points:

  • Housing impacts every part of a person’s life—from schooling to clean air and water, job opportunities, and more;
  • Rising housing costs make up nearly 70% of core inflation;
  • More families than ever before are paying well over 30% and even 50% of their paycheck on housing;
  • A record 653,100 people are experiencing homelessness in the U.S. as millions more are on the verge of homelessness themselves, including in rural America;
  • It’s past time to lower interest rates so the United States can build more housing; 
  • Closing our nation’s widening racial-wealth gap also includes making housing and homeownership more equitable and affordable;
  • Robust investments are needed to increase the supply of accessible and integrated housing for people with disabilities who are often relegated to nursing facilities;
  • Unlike Committee Democrats who are putting forward legislative solutions, Republicans have no plans to address this crisis; and,
  • The richest country on earth has the resources and responsibility to ensure everyone has safe and dignified housing.

During the press conference, members and advocates also called on Congress to pass Ranking Member Waters’ legislative housing package to address this crisis head on. This includes:

  • HR 4233, the “Housing Crisis Response Act,” which represents the housing investments that were previously included in Build Back Better Act. This bill would invest more than $150 billion in fair and affordable housing investments to create nearly 1.4 million affordable and accessible homes, reduce housing costs for all, and help address stubborn core inflation;
  • HR 4232, the “Ending Homelessness Act,” which would end homelessness and significantly reduce poverty by transforming the Housing Choice Voucher program into a federal entitlement, so that every household who qualifies for assistance receives it; and
  • HR 4231, the “Downpayment Toward Equity Act,” which would help revive the dream of homeownership for all by providing $100 billion in direct assistance to help first-time, first-generation homebuyers cover downpayments, closing costs, and buydown mortgage interest rates.

Together, these bills represent the single largest and most comprehensive investment in fair and affordable housing in U.S. history and reverse decades of disinvestment to finally prioritize housing for all.

Watch the full press conference HERE.


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