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June 12, 2019

King, Young, Cantwell Lead Bipartisan Push To Create Affordable Housing Task Force

Collins Joins Cause as Cosponsor to Seek Solutions to Address Housing Uncertainty

WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) led a bipartisan group of 13 senators to introduce the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act, which aims to better understand and respond to America’s housing affordability crisis by creating a bipartisan housing task force. The task force would evaluate and quantify the impact of housing costs on other government programs, and provide recommendations to Congress on how to increase affordable housing options in order to improve life outcomes. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is an original cosponsor.

“Affordable housing isn’t just about keeping a roof over your head – it’s about making sure you have a solid foundation for every other aspect of your life,” said Senator King. “Housing uncertainty amplifies other challenges, making it harder to pursue an education, take care of your health, or seek out new economic opportunities. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican problem, nor is it an urban problem or a rural problem. It affects everyone, and requires a strong, coordinated, and bipartisan effort to seek out solutions. This task force will do just that, and find new ways for us to improve quality of life for Americans of all backgrounds.”

“The shortage of affordable and safe housing is a growing crisis nationwide that is particularly harmful to the most vulnerable Americans,” said Senator Collins.  “In addition, it is truly problematic that in thriving cities such as Portland and Bangor, the very people who contribute so much to a city’s livability – such as educators, police officers, and firefighters – increasingly cannot afford to live there.  As the Chairman of the Housing Appropriations Committee, I am committed to addressing this issue.  The task force created by this bipartisan bill will help improve Congress’ efforts to expand the supply of affordable housing and assist seniors, low-income families, and others obtain a stable place to live.”

“We are grateful to Senator King for introducing legislation to create this task force,” said Dan Brennan, Director, MaineHousing (Maine State Housing Authority). “So many of the major issues Mainers grapple with – our aging population, the opioid crisis, childhood poverty – come back to housing. These issues result in significant personal and financial costs to families, communities, and our state. Studying the impact of quality, stable housing on these challenges is paramount to moving affordable housing solutions forward locally, statewide, and nationally.”

Specifically, the task force would:

  • 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.
  • Evaluate and quantify the costs incurred by other federal, state, and local programs due to a lack of affordable housing.
  • 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.

This bipartisan legislation is backed by more than 70 organizations, including the AARP, Habitat for Humanity, and Maine Affordable Housing Coalition. Cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

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