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July 18, 2018

King Leads Bipartisan Bill to Create Affordable Housing Task Force

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined with a bipartisan group of his colleagues, including Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), to introduce the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act. The legislation seeks to better understand and respond to America’s affordable housing crisis by creating a bipartisan affordable housing task force.

“For people across Maine, the need to find affordable housing isn’t just about keeping a roof over your head – it’s about building a foundation for every other aspect of your life,” said Senator King. “For someone without safe, decent and affordable housing, every other challenge becomes more difficult, whether it’s pursuing an education, taking care of your health, or seeking out new economic opportunities. This isn’t a partisan issue, or one that is limited to just large cities or small rural towns – it affects everyone, and requires a strong bipartisan effort to identify how we can improve quality of life for people across the nation.”

“The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition strongly supports the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act of 2018 because, as our state’s housing affordability crisis continues to grow, we need to better understand the myriad ways it is impacting Maine’s people, neighborhoods, and state and local programs,” said Greg Payne, Director of Maine Affordable Housing Coalition. “The collective expertise brought to bear through the Task Force, supplemented by public input, promises to reveal information and context that can better inform future housing policy development. We thank Senators King and Young for moving this legislation forward, and will enthusiastically support the future work of the Task Force in whatever ways we can.”

“The National Low Income Housing Coalition strongly supports legislation introduced by Senators Angus King and Todd Young to create an interagency taskforce to quantify the multi-sector benefits of affordable homes,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Housing affordability is a key driver of improved health, increased educational attainment and greater lifetime earnings, among many other things. I commend Senators King and Young for their leadership in recognizing that federal investments in affordable homes have positive and far-reaching impacts for the millions of extremely low income people who struggle to pay rent and make ends meet, as well as for our nation’s economy and its future.”

“A growing body of evidence demonstrates the importance of a stable, affordable home in a safe neighborhood to positive health, education, income and other outcomes, but it can be difficult to assess how housing investments may affect the results and costs of other programs,” said Barbara Sard, Vice President for Housing Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The proposed Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis is well-designed to answer these important questions.”

For millions of Americans, a lack of affordable housing has negative, profound, and lasting consequences. Research shows that an inability to access safe and affordable homes jeopardizes educational performance and economic mobility, and leaves families with fewer dollars to spend on health care, groceries, and other important expenses – further ingraining families in the cycle of poverty.  In order to solve the housing crisis, we need a better understanding of its impact on other government programs and areas of life. The affordable housing task force created by this legislation will evaluate and quantify the impact of housing costs on other government programs and provide recommendations to Congress on how increase affordable housing options in order to improve the effectiveness of other federal programs.

More specifically, the task force would:

  1. Evaluate and quantify the impact that a lack of affordable housing has on other areas of life and life outcomes for individuals living in the United States, including education, employment, income level, health, nutrition, access to transportation, and poverty level in the neighborhood in which individuals live.
  2. Evaluate and quantify the costs incurred by other federal, state, and local programs due to a lack of affordable housing.
  3. Make recommendations to Congress on how to use affordable housing to improve the effectiveness of other Federal programs and improve life outcomes for individuals living in the United States.

In addition to Senators King, Young and Cantwell, the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act is supported by Senators Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.).

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