Category Archives: NLIHC

NLIHC Call to Action: Urge Congress to Replace Sequestration with a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

Sign on today to a letter urging lawmakers to act quickly to stop sequestration from taking effect in the upcoming fiscal year. Sequestration in FY16 would impose additional deep cuts to important nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, including HUD and Rural Housing Service housing programs. Join advocates from around the country in calling on Congress to stop these cuts from going forward. Sign your organization on by COB on Monday, January 5.

BACKGROUND

In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act, which resulted in 6% across-the-board cuts to housing and most other discretionary programs in 2013. Those cuts resulted in 100,000 fewer housing choice vouchers being in use in 2014, as well as cuts to every other HUD and Rural Housing Service program. The 2013 sequester had significant negative consequences on the availability and affordability of housing and it should not be repeated.

NLIHC continues to work with NDD United, a coalition representing a broad range of NDD programs, in addition to housing and community development, such as job training, public health, scientific research and national parks. It is important that this letter, organized by NDD United, include a large number of housing and community development organizations to express our sector’s serious concerns about another round of cuts in FY16.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 negotiated by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) provided partial, temporary relief from sequestration in FY14 and FY15. This relief expires at the end of FY15. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if sequestration moves forward in FY16, NDD spending will drop to 3.3% of gross domestic product in 2015 and 3.1% in 2016.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT

NDD programs have already been cut disproportionately in recent years as lawmakers work to reduce the deficit, even though experts across the political spectrum agree these programs are not a driving factor behind our nation’s mid- and long-term fiscal challenges.

NDD programs cover a wide range of important services, including homelessness prevention, housing assistance, community development, education, job training, human services, public health, scientific and medical research, national parks, and more. As a result of sequestration and other austerity measures enacted since 2011, FY14 funding for NDD programs was about 15% below FY10 levels, adjusted for inflation. Unless Congress takes action to end sequestration, funding levels will decline even further and will be equal to their lowest level in at least 50 years.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

Congress needs to hear from you! Join advocates from many sectors around the country by signing a letter urging lawmakers to replace sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

Sign your organization on to the letter.
Sign on at http://nlihc.org/takeaction/ndd2106
View the letter at http://bit.ly/1wXaLG4
Share the letter and encourage organizations in your network to sign.
Sign your organization on to the letter by COB on Monday, January 5.

Questions or comments, please email outreach@nlihc.org.

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USICH and HUD Will Host the Second of Four Webinars on Family Homelessness September 10

Join the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on September 10th, for a webinar titled “Family Connection: Tailored Interventions and Assistance.” This is the second informational webinar in a series on building systems to end family homelessness. The webinar will feature best practices and lessons learned from two community partners, as well as policy insights from HUD and USICH. This is a great chance for those who work with families to learn new information on using resources such as rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing, affordable housing and transitional housing to better serve those in need. To learn more and register click here.

Watch the first webinar in this series, “Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness,” here or below:

New Report Finds Vermont Renters Still Cannot Afford the Rent

The State’s High Rents are Out of Reach for Working Families

In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent in Vermont, renters need to earn $19.36 per hour, or $40,272 a year. This is Vermont’s 2014 Housing Wage, revealed in a report released today. The report, Out of Reach 2014, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.

The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market.

An estimated 62% of renters in Vermont do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the average statewide Fair Market Rent of $1,007.

Working at the minimum wage in Vermont, a family must have 2.2 wage earners working full-time, or one full-time earner working 89 hours per week at minimum wage, to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. While it is possible for a household to work more than one job to make ends meet, a 2011 Vermont study showed that 62% of the state’s households had only one, or less than one full time workers.

“Vermont continues to be one of the states with the least affordable rental housing,” said Ted Wimpey, Director of the Fair Housing Project at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity and Chair of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.  “It is extremely difficult for even moderate income people in Vermont to find affordable rental housing. The situation has many serious consequences, including increased homelessness and greater numbers of families struggling to get by.”

The typical renter in Vermont earns $11.24 an hour, which is $8.12 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.

According to Jeanne Montross, Executive Director of Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) and Chair of the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, “Although there have been some recent, small signs of  economic recovery, wages – especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder – continue to stagnate. Real income has actually fallen for low income households, while the costs of housing, heat, and food continue to climb. This, in combination with a reduction in the availability of housing subsidies, makes it a given that we will see more and more families become homeless.”

Greater investment in our stock of affordable housing is needed at both the federal and state levels. By funding the National Housing Trust Fund, Vermont would receive at least $3 million a year, which would stimulate the production of new affordable homes for Vermont’s lowest income residents and create quality jobs in the construction industry. By fully funding the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the state would further increase its investments in much needed new housing and the Vermont economy, while helping to offset the federal cutbacks of the last several years.

“We can no longer ignore the dire need for affordable housing when three out of every four extremely low income households nationally have to spend more than half of their income on housing costs,” said NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley. “Closing this gap is achievable through the National Housing Trust Fund.”

Additional Facts:

  • The national Housing Wage is $18.92 in 2014
  • Vermont is the 13th most expensive state in the nation for renters
  • Vermont is the ninth most expensive state for non-metropolitan/rural areas
  • The Housing Wage is up 26% since the Great Recession began in 2007
  • The Housing Wage in the greater metropolitan area of Burlington is $25.17, 13% higher than the state average

Every year, Out of Reach provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country. For additional information, visit: http://www.nlihc.org/oor/2014.

Find out more about the facts and figures of Vermont’s 2014 Out of Reach report here.

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