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Clinton, Velazquez Fight to Ensure Affordable Housing Opportunities for Working Families

Clinton, Velázquez Fight to Ensure Affordable Housing Opportunities for Working Families
April 10, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN), introduced the Housing America’s Workforce Act, to increase access to affordable housing for America’s working families.

The Housing America’s Workforce Act provides a tax credit to employers, equal to 50 percent of the cost of housing assistance offered to eligible low- and moderate-income employees.  Rental assistance could be used toward security deposits and rental payments, while homeownership assistance could be used for such things as subsidizing down payments, closing costs, or contributions to an employee homeownership savings account. The legislation also treats housing assistance as a nontaxable benefit to ensure employees receive the full value of the housing benefit.  In order to help employers that lack the knowledge and expertise needed to undertake an EAH initiative, it will establish a competitive grant program so that nonprofit housing organizations can assist employers.

“The number of working families with children paying more than half their income for housing has increased by more than 250% in the last 25 years,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez.  “The increasing gap between wages and housing costs has made the prospect of owning a home all but impossible for low- and moderate- income families in New York.  The Employee Assisted Housing (EAH) program aims to combat this grim outlook and restore the possibility of adequate, affordable housing for hardworking Americans nationwide.”

New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has established an EAH program to assist employers with these initiatives.  In addition, Chambers of Commerce, universities and counties throughout the state are also offering EAH programs.   The Housing America’s Workforce Act will enable more businesses to develop EAH programs, increasing access to viable housing opportunities.

“Working full-time no longer guarantees the security and comfort of a home. The shortage of workforce housing has emerged as a national crisis with housing costs having far outgrown the rate of inflation in many markets. We need to make sure hard working Americans the opportunity to live in the communities they serve,” said Senator Clinton.

The Housing America’s Workforce Act is endorsed locally by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Portland Housing Center, and nationally by The US Conference of Mayors, The National Housing Conference, The National Association of Counties, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, National Association of Home Builders, and the National NeighborWorks Association.