NAHRO: America Needs a Comprehensive Housing Strategy
WASHINGTON, January 28--
These are challenging times for housing in America. Recognizing this, we are pleased that the Administration is working to address the current housing foreclosure crisis in a timely manner, and that the President addressed this issue in his State of the Union remarks.
However, we believe that the nation’s housing needs extend far beyond the parameters of this crisis. Providing new affordable rental housing, preserving our existing inventory of affordable housing, addressing the needs of the nation’s homeless, and ensuring that families live in safe and vibrant communities are but a few of the issues we had hoped the President would address. We regret that the President’s remarks this evening did not go far enough to offer a comprehensive housing strategy for America. The nation’s housing concerns have been well documented over many years and are critical to many working families, seniors and the disabled. In a recent poll conducted by Zogby International for the Housing America 2007 campaign, nine out of ten Americans cited affordable housing as a high priority; one-third of respondents cited it as their number one priority.
To begin to address the wider array of housing concerns we face, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) has put forth recommendations with respect to the development of an economic stimulus package. We believe these recommendations would provide a powerful and immediate economic stimulus locally; help to preserve the physical integrity of the existing affordable housing stock; and sustain the infrastructure of communities. NAHRO believes that the stimulus package now under consideration should include direct funding to ensure the long-term viability and continuing availability of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families. We respectfully offer the following recommendations:
Up to $800 million in supplemental public housing operating subsidy;
Up to $500 million in public housing capital funding to be expended within 12 months of receipt; and
Up to $1 billion for the CDBG program conditioned upon expenditure within 12 months of receipt, with encouragement to local governments to expend significant portions of this funding for housing counseling and other programs to help ameliorate the present home mortgage crisis.
“Our nation’s affordable housing inventory is a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure,” said NAHRO President Renee Rooker. “Acting on these recommendations would fulfill a vital and necessary public policy objective, create jobs and ensure safe, decent housing in viable communities for Americans. NAHRO looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress to achieve these vital goals.”