With voting in the 2020 elections behind us, families across the U.S. need elected officials to act now to meet urgent and long-term housing needs. There’s no time to waste. Policymakers at all levels of government must revive their efforts to both provide immediate and long-term housing stability and invest in housing as the foundation to economic and societal recovery.
Regardless of the outcomes of the elections, Habitat is committed to bridging divides. We have a strong record working with both sides of the aisle to achieve meaningful legislation that protects and provides housing stability. We’re asking all elected officials to prioritize housing in the days ahead and into the future. We have one goal and one voice. Habitat implores local, state and federal officials to act now for housing.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 18 million U.S. households were already spending half or more of their income on housing. The pandemic greatly exacerbated our housing affordability crisis, and studies show that 30-40 million people in the U.S. are at risk of eviction, and the risk of foreclosures and bankruptcy have “sharply increased.” These threats disproportionately impact communities of color.
Temporary government relief measures have slowed the crisis but have failed to provide long-term housing security. Federal moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures expire on New Year’s Eve, putting millions of families at risk of eviction in the middle of winter in an ongoing pandemic. At a time when a safe and decent home has never been more important, millions of American families need action to make the cost of home something we all can afford.
Even before a new Congress is sworn in, urgent action is needed to protect families in unstable living conditions.
Habitat’s priorities for immediate housing relief
The current Congress and Administration must:
- Enact COVID-19 economic relief that includes housing payment assistance for low-income renters and homeowners to prevent evictions and foreclosures.
- Pass a robust fiscal year 2021 budget that fully funds housing and community development priorities.
- Provide economic relief for nonprofit organizations that serve communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic decline.
As newly elected and re-elected leaders plan their 2021 agendas, members of Congress, the Executive Branch, governors, state legislators, mayors, and city and county councils must prioritize investments in housing as infrastructure and a vital part of economic recovery.
Habitat’s priorities for long-term housing investment
Elected officials at all levels of government must:
- Include robust funding to build affordable homes in economic recovery.
- Prioritize policies that ensure that access to safe, healthy and affordable housing is equitable by rectifying legacies of systemic housing discrimination, closing racial gaps in homeownership and ensuring communities of opportunity for all.
Habitat is committed to continuing its housing advocacy through working with elected officials at all levels of government to find and implement policy solutions that will enable access to affordable homes for 10 million people in the U.S. over the course of the five-year Cost of Home campaign.
Through this campaign, 525 Habitat for Humanity organizations from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., sent letters to leaders of Congress and the Executive Branch calling for immediate action on urgent housing relief.