The National Housing Trust Fund bill, HR 1102, was introduced one year ago and now has 211 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. A similar bill will soon be introduced in the Senate.
Each bill establishes a trust fund, like those existing in some 280 state and municipal governments. The fund would serve as a source of revenue for the production of new housing, and the preservation or rehabilitation of existing housing that is affordable for low income people.
On average, families across the country must earn $15.21 an hourmore than twice the minimum wageto afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent. A full-time minimum wage worker cannot afford the fair market rent anywhere in the country.
The lack of housing in our communities affects economic developmentbusinesses simply will not locate in communities where their workers cannot live. And, especially important in today's economy, housing is a proven economic stimulus. A $5 billion investment in housing production would initially create more than 180,000 jobs. When leveraged, this investment could result in up to 1.8 million jobs and $50 billion in wages.
The initial goal of the National Housing Trust Fund is to build and preserve 1.5 million units of rental housing for the lowest income families over the next 10 years.
Catholic Social Teaching has long recognized housing as a basic human right. The Catholic community--through its parishes, diocesan structures, and Catholic Charities agencies--is one of the largest providers of shelter in the nation. Since the late 1960's, the federal government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development has solicited, encouraged, and funded a variety of Church sponsored housing--particularly senior housing, transitional housing, homeless shelters, and some family units.
In April 2002, Cardinal McCarrick wrote to Members of Congress urging support for the legislation. This National Housing Trust Fund presents Congress with a genuine opportunity to let the American people know that the shelter needs of low-income families are a national priority. I urge you to support [NHFT] as one way to demonstrate how vitally important housing is to the well-being of families and our communities.
Contact your Representative and Senators and urge them to co-sponsor The National Housing Trust Fund. Members of Congress need to hear from people in local communities about the need to provide every family with access to affordable housing.
For more information:
Thom Shellabarger at the USCCB, 202 541 3189 or email@example.com
Douglas Rice, Catholic Charities USA 703 549 1390 X195 or drice@CatholicCharitiesUSA.org