NAHRO Calls for Swift Passage of Economic Recovery Legislation

 

WASHINGTON, January 6--

As the 111th Congress convenes today, local housing agencies face mounting pressure to administer the nation’s public housing inventory responsibly despite years of federal funding shortfalls.

Years of disinvestment in the 1.2 million housing units nationwide have resulted in layoffs of critical staff and a reduction in services, putting children, the elderly, and people with disabilities at risk. 

Since 2003, funding for the public housing program has been reduced significantly, with the cumulative shortfall reaching approximately $4 billion in 2009.  For four out of the past five years, public housing operations have received from the federal government less than 85 cents on the dollar.  Capital needs for this affordable housing inventory are estimated to be over $30 billion, with costs mounting by an estimated $2 billion per year.  Operational underfunding and outstanding capital needs threaten the long-term viability of this important housing asset.

The nation’s public housing inventory serves over 1 million families nationwide; thousands more are on waiting lists to enter public housing in their community.  The $160 billion public housing asset, developed through 75 years of responsible investment by the federal government working with local administrators, is irreplaceable!  Given current budget constraints, it is unlikely to be replaced through other federal, state or local housing programs.  The federal government must act now to preserve this valuable housing.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) believes Congress should take swift action on economic recovery legislation to address the precipitous decline in the nation's economy and to restore the nation's infrastructure, of which housing is an essential part. NAHRO requests the provision of $5 billion to address public housing capital needs and at least $500 million to supplement resources for public housing operation and administration. NAHRO also supports the provision of $10 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding to assist in the revitalization of our nation's communities. Finally, NAHRO seeks the inclusion of $143 million to deliver critical Section 8 voucher rental assistance to the growing number of those in need, whether as a result of growing unemployment or the recent foreclosure crisis. This funding will fuel the economic recovery by creating jobs, preserve our infrastructure, and help families in need.

NAHRO calls upon the 111th Congress to pass this important legislation quickly, to address housing and community development needs across the nation, and to act responsibly in this first session to preserve our vital inventory of affordable housing.