Affordable Housing Construction Key to Jobs Growth, Economic Stimulus
WASHINGTON - A coalition of 45 national organizations sent a letter to President Barack Obama’s domestic policy and economic teams today asking that the Administration include at least $10 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund in the President’s jobs-creation plan.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama began roll-out of a jobs agenda meant to lower unemployment, raise wages and rebuild security for middle class Americans. This agenda includes infrastructure investments, patent reform, free trade deals and an extension of payroll tax cuts.
Advocates for affordable housing say that construction and rehabilitation of housing for low income people is a surefire jobs creator the President should consider as a part of any jobs package introduced. Every $10 billion spent through the National Housing Trust Fund will create 122,000 new jobs in the construction industry and 30,000 new, ongoing jobs in the operation of the rental housing.
“It is clear the housing construction industry has not fully recovered from the recession,” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Investing in the National Housing Trust Fund can achieve two critical objectives: stimulating jobs growth in a struggling industry, and creating housing that can help end homelessness for good in the United States.”
The National Housing Trust Fund will produce, rehabilitate, preserve and operate rental housing that is affordable to extremely low income households across the country. It was signed into law in 2008 but has not yet been funded.
The letter notes that funding the National Housing Trust Fund will allow the Administration to create jobs while advancing other priorities, like ending veteran homelessness and homelessness for families with children.
The text of the letter to Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, is copied below.
The 45 undersigned national organizations strongly urge you to include funding for jobs in housing in the President’s jobs-creation plan. Specifically, we recommend that the plan include at least $10 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund.
Once funded, the National Housing Trust Fund will produce, rehabilitate, preserve, and operate rental housing that is affordable for households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median (extremely low income). Every $10 billion spent through the National Housing Trust Fund will create 122,000 new jobs in the construction trades and 30,000 new ongoing jobs in the operation of the rental housing.
In addition to the jobs that will be created, funding the National Housing Trust Fund in the jobs plan will advance other objectives set by the Obama Administration. Funding for the National Housing Trust Fund is a key element to the success of the Administration’s plan to end homelessness for veterans and people with disabilities in five years and families with children in ten years. Funds from the National Housing Trust Fund can be coupled with properties acquired through the disposition of foreclosed homes owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA, so that some of these properties can be converted into affordable housing.
As you know, funding for the National Housing Trust Fund has been included in each of the President’s budgets since he took office, but has not yet been enacted. We advocated for $10 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund in the 2009 stimulus bill, but Congressional appropriators were reluctant to include it then, because program regulations had not been developed. Fortunately, HUD is near completion of the regulations now, so any funding allocated could be spent immediately.
All indicators continue to report that the most serious housing problem faced by Americans is the shortage of rental housing that extremely low income households can afford. Today, there 10 million extremely low income renter households in our country and only 6.5 million housing units they can afford. They remain the only income group for whom there is an absolute shortage of homes.
We urge you to consider an investment in affordable housing to be as important to the future of our country as investments in schools, technology, and infrastructure. Without the foundation of safe and decent homes, children cannot thrive, adults cannot prosper, and seniors cannot live out their years in dignity.
Thank you for your attention to our request. A delegation from the National Housing Trust Fund Campaign is available to meet with you at your earliest convenience.
Catholic Charities USA
Center for Community Change
Coalition on Human Needs
Community Action Partnership
Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force
Corporation for Supportive Housing
Enterprise Community Partners
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Housing Assistance Council
Housing Partnership Network
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Lutheran Services in America
Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Washington Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National AIDS Housing Coalition
National Alliance to End Homelessness
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth National Center for Healthy Housing
National Center on Family Homelessness
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Coalition for Community Reinvestment
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Council of La Raza
National Council on Independent Living
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Housing Conference
National Housing Law Project
National Housing Trust
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
National Low Income Housing Coalition
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team
Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future
Technical Assistance Collaborative
The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
Union for Reform Judaism
United Way Worldwide
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to ending America’s affordable housing crisis. Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone. NLIHC provides up-to-date information, formulates policy and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.