Housing plays a fundamental role in the stability of families and neighborhoods throughout the United States. Study after study, and report after report – including from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – documents the urgent need to increase the inventory of housing, and to create and preserve housing that is affordable to low-income and moderate-income families.
That is why it is so disappointing to watch “State of the Union” addresses, and last night’s was no exception. Once again, “housing” was not on the menu of priorities for this country. Once again, the role of housing in keeping the state of the union strong did not make it to the top of the list, or worse, was simply ignored.
We need a comprehensive federal housing policy that seeks to strengthen the country by strengthening the availability of and access to housing for low- and moderate-income families. We need to take seriously investments into the more than one million units of low-income and public housing that house families, children, seniors and veterans in rural, suburban and urban America. We need to realize that as our economy flourishes, the pocketbooks of most Americans are not keeping up with routine costs. The state of the union is only as strong as the state of our fathers and mothers trying to make ends meet.
We did hear that there are plans to push an infrastructure plan this year. To that we say, kudos. Our roads, bridges, water and transportation systems do need critical investments. Many low- and moderate-income families and seniors rely on these systems working properly to carry out their days. But we would only be addressing a portion of the country’s infrastructure investment needs if we stop there. Housing is infrastructure. Without investments in housing now, we are only kicking the can down the road to when today’s crisis becomes tomorrow’s tragedy. Housing is a solution, not a burden.