Fighting for Affordable Housing
While the housing market has improved since the worst days of the housing meltdown and recession, millions of Americans remain underwater with their mortgages and millions more can’t get a loan to buy a house. On the rental side, more than 7 million households lack access to adequate affordable housing, with many facing a daily choice between housing, food, and healthcare. Meanwhile, many working families, veterans, the mentally ill and the poor are living in their cars, in homeless shelters, or simply out on the street. That is unacceptable.
Helping Underwater Homeowners - For millions of American families, and for many hard hit communities, the housing crisis is not over. According to the real estate firm CoreLogic, 4.3 million homeowners still owe more than their houses are worth. While the taxpayers of this country, against my strong opposition, bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country with no strings attached, we have never provided an adequate lifeline to underwater homeowners. While Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program has helped more than 1.5 million homeowners avoid foreclosure, and the Hardest Hit Fund has assisted another 250,000 homeowners, these are a fraction of the households that were, or are, underwater.
What can we do about it?
American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2018 - Controls the cost of renting or buying a home by leveraging federal funding to build up to 3.2 million new housing units for lower-income and middle-class families – bringing down rents by 10% and creating 1.5 million new jobs according to an independent analysis from Moody’s Analytics. Reduces the cost of housing across America by creating incentives for local governments to eliminate unnecessary land use restrictions that drive up costs. Provides assistance to people hurt by federal housing policy failures through two targeted new programs. Holds financial institutions accountable for providing access to credit for all Americans. Promotes mobility by strengthening anti-discrimination laws and improving the housing voucher program.
Raise the minimum wage - According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a renter would need to earn a wage of $19.35 per hour in order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. One way to start closing the wage/rent gap is to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
Implement Credit Score Reform - Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act - The credit scores of millions of families have been ruined because of foreclosures or other financial hardships from the economic meltdown. At the same time, a prime score before the crisis was 640. It currently hovers around 740. If we want to rebuild the lost wealth of working families, we need real credit score reform to make the banking and credit industries work for borrowers and not just lenders.
Hardest Hit Housing Act of 2018 - To provide additional funding for the public housing Capital Fund for large public housing agencies, for mortgage foreclosure mitigation assistance, and for incremental rental assistance vouchers, and for other purposes.