On February 13, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on “How Middle Class Families are Faring in Today’s Economy.” Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1) spoke during the hearing about the importance of affordable rental housing, citing the impact of high housing cost burden on families, millennials, and GDP growth. Rep. DelBene noted that nearly one in four renters in the United States spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, which leaves little left over for necessary expenses like transportation, food, medical bills, or saving for retirement. She continued to explain that, in Washington State, a minimum wage worker must work 78 hours a week in order to afford just a modest 1-bedroom apartment. Rep. DelBene also submitted to the congressional record a recent article by AHTCC Board of Directors member Richard Burns, president and CEO of the NHP Foundation.
In the article, Burns explained: “millennials and baby boomers alike are expected to join those already in need of affordable housing — the low-income families, veterans and senior citizens.” The proportion of rent-burdened low- to middle-income residents is continuing to increase, while the production of affordable housing continues to lag, and the federal minimum wage remains too low to pay for even modest apartments. But according to Mr. Burns and Rep. DelBene, we can’t let these challenges keep us from trying to find solutions. With Congress’ support, cross-sector collaboration, and ingenuity, we can meet the nations’ growing affordable housing challenges. Passing the AHCIA will be an essential step toward this goal.
For more information about forthcoming Housing Credit legislation, please register for this webinar being held On Wednesday, February 20 at 2:00 pm ET. Emily Cadik, AHTCC Executive Director, will discuss the future of the Housing Credit and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. The webinar will be hosted by the National Housing Conference as part of their Restoring Neighborhoods Task Force series.