Due to overwhelming housing costs, many Americans are just one accident, illness or layoff away from becoming homeless. Congress created the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) in 2008 to create millions of affordable housing units and help stem this growing problem. However, due to a loophole in the law, the NHTF has never received funding and it’s time to look for alternatives that will make this effort successful.
In Isaiah 58:7, we are taught to “Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house.” Please urge your Members of Congress and the director of the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) to reestablish robust funding for the National Housing Trust Fund.
America has a housing crisis. In the last 40 years the number of low-income Americans has increased while the supply of affordable housing has fallen. 20.6 million Americans are now severely burdened by housing costs—paying over half of their income on utilities and rent or mortgage payments.
This fragile system means that millions of families are one accident, illness or layoff away from becoming homeless. In recognition of this serious problem, Congress created the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) in 2008 with the purpose of providing funds to build, rehabilitate, and repair affordable housing units for low-income people. At least 75% of the fund’s resources must produce or preserve affordable housing for extremely low income people—those most likely to fall into homelessness.
Unfortunately, the NHTF was set to receive money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were not able to supply sufficient funds during the recession. However, now that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are making a profit, millions are owedto the NHTF. The new Director of the Federal Housing Finance Administration, Mel Watt, must ensure these payments are restarted. Additionally, as legislative efforts to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac move through Congress we must ensure robust funding for the National Housing Trust Fund is included in any proposal.
Jewish tradition and texts tell us that helping the homeless is not a choice, but an obligation. In Isaiah 58:7 we are instructed to “Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house.” Judaism teaches that we have a duty to our society and to each other to ensure no one experiences homelessness. It is our moral obligation to make stable housing available to all people in pursuit of this goal.
Urge your Members of Congress and FHFA Director, Mel Watt, to reestablish robust funding for the National Housing Trust Fund. For more information, please contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Howie Levine at 202.387.2800.