Housing is Infrastructure
October 18, 2021
On Tuesday, October 12, I extended my support to Representative Maxine Waters (CA-43) Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee by attending their press conference on housing investments in the Build Back Better plan. During her remarks, Rep. Waters stated: “For decades we have put off making the [housing] investments we needed and just like a bridge that crumbles without maintenance our housing safety net is at its breaking point.”
— Jarrett K. Smith (@JarrettSmith) October 12, 2021
Of the original $3.5 trillion dollar package, $327 billion is allotted for housing. This transformative housing investment would connect millions of families with the housing assistance they need. Investing in housing is our once-in-a-generation chance to help close the widening racial wealth gap.
With only one in four families eligible for housing assistance actually receives it, homelessness and housing insecurity are becoming a reality for more families in the United States every day. We have a moral call to ensure that every person has stable, affordable housing. As Pope Francis said when he visited the United States in 2015, “we can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.”
Rep. Johnson listed a few of the programs that the Build Back Better Act could fund, including:
- • $90 billion for rental assistance (Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Rental Assistance)
• $80 billion for public housing repairs
• $40+ billion for Community Development Block Grants and the HOME Investment Partnership Program
With the Build Back Better plan approaching the October 31 deadline Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer have set for its passage, congressional leadership is considering cuts to the plan to bring the final cost down, but it is unclear which programs’ funding will be impacted.
This week, Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15) led 125 lawmakers in sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The letter urged them to keep $90 billion for rental assistance, $80 billion for public housing repairs and $37 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund in the final version of the bill.
It is critical to maintain these transformative housing investments in this final Build Back Better package.
There is no time to lose. Urge your legislators to keep the proposed housing and community development funds in the final bill.
Call your Representative at 888-738-3058 and tell them to support a bold Build Back Better plan