Velazquez Advances Housing, Insurance Measures
Washington, DC – The House Financial Services Committee has approved three amendments authored by Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). The provisions were adopted as part of the Committee’s Authorization and Oversight Plan and would help address pressing issues facing New Yorkers.
“Housing issues are critically important to all New Yorkers and the amendments I authored and my colleagues approved will make important strides for both renters and homeowners living throughout the five boroughs,” Velázquez said.
One amendment would ensure that the Financial Services Committee conducts vigorous oversight of landlords participating in the Section 8 program, to ensure they follow rules set out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and to prevent abuse of tenants.
“We’ve heard numerous stories of unscrupulous landlords allowing units to fall into disrepair to force families out, jack up rents and make more money,” Velázquez noted. “This amendment would ensure HUD and the Committee proactively prevent egregious acts like these.”
A second amendment requires that the Committee look into targeted funding for capital repairs and upgrades in public housing facilities like the New York City Housing Authority. Velázquez noted that inadequate investment in public housing infrastructure has resulted in serious health problems for residents. For example, one study found that asthma prevalence amongst children living in NYCHA housing is nearly two times higher than rates amongst children living in other types of housing in the City, due to the presence of mold.
“These are fixable problems that can be solved by repairing leaky windows, replacing roofs and make other upgrades,” Velázquez noted. “This amendment will ensure the Committee takes these issues seriously and prioritizes these investments.”
Velázquez’s third amendment seeks to tackle problems in the nation’s Flood Insurance Program. After Superstorm Sandy, there were multiple incidents of fraud reported and several studies found the Program lacks internal controls and oversight.
“The Flood Insurance Program needs to function efficiently and transparently in order to ensure help is going to those harmed by catastrophes like Sandy,” Velázquez said. “My amendment would ensure the Committee takes steps to implement needed reforms.”
The Committee approved a total of eight amendments – three of them Velázquez’s - during its consideration of its Oversight plan. The Congresswoman’s amendments were approved by voice vote. Velázquez is the third most senior Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and the only New York City Member of Congress to serve on the Housing Subcommittee.