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Congressional Caucus Calls For More Rental Assistance

'Insufficient investment in rental assistance and public housing over the last four decades has materially contributed to the crisis renters now face’

Congressional Caucus Calls For More Rental Assistance

The Congressional Renters Caucus has called for additional federal support for renters across the country.

The caucus members sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee to request they expand rental assistance programs, citing an “unprecedented crisis in obtaining affordable, abudant, and accessible housing.” 

“Our constituents are struggling to find and keep a home in an increasingly unaffordable rental housing market, due to insufficient federal rental assistance, inadequate supply of high quality, affordable rental housing, and unnecessary, often discriminatory additional barriers preventing millions of Americans from getting into safe, affordable, high quality rental housing,” the coalition wrote. “Our Caucus believes that Congress must respond decisively to this crisis on behalf of the millions of people who are housing insecure or already unhoused, and it must begin so by prioritizing renters in FY25 spending priorities.”

The Congressional Renters Caucus, which was founded in 2023 by California Congressman Jimmy Gomez, prioritizes policies aimed at supporting Americans who rent their residences. 

“It’s been a big, big issue in my district since even before I got to Congress,” Gomez told Roll Call. “Seventy-eight percent of my district is renters, and a larger and larger percentage are rent-burdened. When they hit any kind of economic issue, they end up on the street. … And there hasn’t been much of a coordinated approach to dealing with issues facing renters.”

Other members include Representatives Maxwell Alejandro Frost of Florida, Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania, and Sydney Kamlager-Dove of California. Congressman Ritchie Torres of New York and Congresswoman Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts joined as vice-chairs. 

Roughly 44 million Americans rent their place of residence.

Approximately 52% of renters in the country are considered “rent-burdened” – meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. 

The Congressional Renters Caucus believes that “existing federal funding has fallen far short in addressing the scope of the growing demand for federal rental assistance.”

“More than three quarters of households eligible for federal rental assistance programs do not receive benefits, including an estimated 75% of low-income renter households with children that are rent burdened, or live in overcrowded and/or substandard housing,” the co-signers wrote. “Insufficient investment in rental assistance and public housing over the last four decades has materially contributed to the crisis renters now face nationwide. Congress must break the cycle by making a generational investment in rental assistance and other housing programs.”

The caucus has asked the Appropriations Committee to fully fund the Housing Choice Vouchers program and to allow HUD to reallocate unused vouchers. They have also asked that rural rental assistance not be tied to specific properties. Additionally, the caucus members are seeking “at least $100 million for the Eviction Protection Grant Program to increase access to no-cost legal assistance for renters with low incomes at risk of or subject to an eviction.”

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