Statement by NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley in response to the State of the Union Speech
WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 13, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address to Congress last night, called for several measures to deal with the great income divide in the United States, including a substantial increase in the minimum wage. This is good news and Congress should pass such legislation without delay.
The distance between what workers in the low wage workforce earn and what it costs them to pay for housing is one of the most serious problems in our country today. Improving the earning power of service workers will help them be better able to find rental housing that they can afford. But we need to do more by increasing that supply of rental housing. Today there are 10.1 million renter households with incomes that are 30% or less that the median incomes in their communities, but only 5.5 million housing units that they can afford.
While I applaud the President’s proposal for universal preschool, a stable home is necessary for each child to succeed educationally. In the absence of enough homes that low income families with children can afford, some of these families will be forced to move frequently from place to place or live in overcrowded or unsafe conditions. Many will experience homelessness. An investment that assures that each child has a safe, decent, and stable home is as essential in investment in early childhood education.
President Obama called for major tax reform to make the tax code simpler and fairer. The National Low Income Housing Coalition agrees that tax reform is needed and also offers the opportunity to address the shortage of housing for low income families. NLIHC proposes modifications to the mortgage interest deduction that will give tax breaks to more low and moderate income homeowners than receive them now and will generate enough new revenue to fund the expansion of affordable housing for the lowest income families.
There is much promise for greater equality among Americans in the President’s agenda. We urge him to have a more complete policy agenda.
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.
National Low Income Housing Coalition
727 15th Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005
202/662-1530; Fax 202/393-1973; ; www.nlihc.org
Amy Clark, 202.662.1530 x227,