Addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis 2018-08-08T14:17:07+00:00
Addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis

We are facing an affordable housing crisis. Skyrocketing housing costs are hurting hardworking families who are saving and doing everything right. The numbers are disheartening: in Massachusetts, 60 percent of extremely low-income renters face severe cost burdens, and the cost of single-family homes continues to climb. Moreover, the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken existing protections and defund housing programs are making things worse.

We need a comprehensive  plan to develop more affordable and workforce housing, and that starts by having effective elected officials who actually listen to their communities. Throughout the campaign, I have had the opportunity to hear from advocacy groups, municipal housing authorities, economic development organizations, and local leaders about how we can expand access to quality, affordable housing. This plan is a culmination of their feedback.

In Congress, I’ll work to strengthen programs that already work on the ground, and I’ll fight for programs tailored to the specific needs of gateway cities, rural towns, and suburbs across this district. In particular, my plan to make housing more accessible and affordable focuses on the following:

  1. Expanding incentives for affordable housing development
  2. Passing legislation to protect home buyers
  3. Ensuring safe public housing standards
  4. Fighting to end chronic cycles of homelessness

1. Expanding incentives for affordable housing development

Affordable housing gives people a chance to find steady jobs, become a part of their local community, and get ahead. However, President Trump is trying to slash crucial housing programs that help millions of families. This is completely backwards: our government should be working to make housing more accessible, not the other way around. In Congress, I would oppose these disastrous cuts and fight to expand existing incentives for affordable housing development. I support:

  • Expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Since its establishment more than 30 years ago, the LIHTC program has helped generate more than 3 million affordable rental housing units across the country and has been indirectly responsible for creating billions of dollars in new revenue. That’s why I support H.R. 1661 (the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act), which would streamline the current housing credit process and make it more effective by increasing its reach and flexibility. This bipartisan legislation would help families across the Third District.
  • Investing in housing redevelopment in historic cities. Federal and state historic tax credits help preserve and adapt historic buildings into affordable housing, and are a crucial resource for our gateway cities. These programs have transformed our cities, bringing in thousands of new housing units in cities like Lowell, Lawrence, and Fitchburg. But there’s still more work to do. In Congress, I will be a vocal advocate for bringing more federal and state historic credits to the Third District.

2. Supporting legislation to protect home buyers

I support common-sense protections that make sure homebuyers are treated fairly and are not taken advantage of.  The Trump Administration, on the other hand, is putting our families more at risk by proposing to roll back consumer protections against predatory lending and discriminatory mortgage practices. We need to strengthen existing protections and continue to fight for fair and equal housing. I support:

  • Strengthening regulations against predatory mortgages and home loan lending. Too many families are cheated, scammed, and hurt by predatory loan lenders. Massachusetts has led the way with strong protections against predatory lending; we need to continue to build on this progress nationwide, and make sure that every homebuyer is protected. That’s why I will fight against efforts that would greenlight triple-digit interest rates and gut existing regulations. I also support legislation, introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren, that would seek to end predatory home loan practices targeting veterans.
  • Upholding the Fair Housing Act and combating anti-discriminatory housing laws. In Congress, I will fight to guarantee every American’s right to fair housing, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ethnicity. I will stand against efforts to undermine the Fair Housing Act and work to extend non-discrimination protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

3. Ensuring safe public housing standards

Unsafe housing is an urgent public health issue: exposure to lead and toxic substances can stunt childhood development and trigger chronic illnesses. Moreover, these problems disproportionately impact communities of color. We need to implement strong safety standards and invest in quality public housing to make sure our families are safe. I support:

  • Implementing safe standards for housing construction and maintenance. Every family, regardless of income, deserves access to a safe place to call home. That’s why we need to strengthen federal regulations to address issues like high lead levels in public housing. I support bills like the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act, which would protect children from lead poisoning and provide additional federal assistance for families with young children living in substandard housing.

4. Fighting to end chronic cycles of homelessness

Our government is failing thousands of families experiencing homelessness across Massachusetts and the country. As the cost of housing continues to rise, too many families simply can’t afford a place to live. In fact, in Massachusetts, the number of families who have spent at least one night in a shelter has doubled over the past ten years, a much higher rate than other states. We can, and must, do better. I support:

  • Passing a progressive budget that allocates funds to address the homelessness crisis. The shortage of affordable housing has pushed families to rely on staying in shelters longer and longer. We need to find ways to make sure these families get back on their feet. Rental assistance vouchers can help, but the Trump administration has proposed billions of dollars in cuts to the Section 8 voucher program. In Congress, I will fight to strengthen, not slash, this crucial program. We also need to continue to adequately fund existing federal programs, like HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants, that provide necessary funding to state organizations and agencies on the front lines in the fight against homelessness.
  • Supporting a comprehensive, community-wide approach. In order to address chronic homelessness, we need a coordinated effort between elected officials, social service agencies, and other local community organizations. By bringing people together, we can help identify, assess, and refer those experiencing homelessness to housing assistance more efficiently and effectively.
  • Combating veteran homelessness. Veteran homelessness is a national failure. On any given night, there are 40,000 veterans out on the street, and another 1.4 million veterans at risk of homelessness. We need to work to provide safe and secure housing to every single person who has served our country. That’s why I support strengthening local rehabilitation centers, like the Crescent House Transitional Residence Program in Lowell, and bolstering existing VA programs that provide targeted financial assistance for low-income housing.