October 21, 2021

Kilmer Calls for Robust Affordable Housing Investments

Washington, DC – On Monday, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) joined Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15) and over 120 colleagues in Congress to express support for keeping robust affordable housing investments in the Build Back Better Act. The letter, which was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, calls for any final legislation to include investments in affordable, accessible homes for America’s lowest-income and most marginalized people.

“Even before the pandemic, America was in the grips of an affordable housing crisis, most severely impacting the most marginalized and lowest-income people, including seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and others. Nationally, there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to renters with extremely low incomes. For every 10 of these households, there are fewer than 4 affordable and available homes. There is not a single state or congressional district with enough affordable homes to meet this demand,” the lawmakers wrote.

They continued, “As this legislation advances in Congress, we urge you to ensure that funding levels for rental assistance, public housing and the Housing Trust Fund match the amounts included in the bill approved by the House Financial Services Committee […] Taken together, these investments could effectively end homelessness in the United States. Any cuts to funding for these priority programs means fewer people safely and affordably housed.”

Specifically, the lawmakers called for:

  • $90 billion to expand rental assistance to 1 million additional households.
  • $80 billion to address the Public Housing repair backlog for 2.5 million residents.
  • $37 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve 330,000 homes affordable to people with the greatest needs.

“Kitsap Community Resources, as our area’s only community action agency, is grateful for legislation supporting affordable housing for our residents. Between September 2020 through July 2021, KCR has assisted 1,749 households with rent and/or utility payments. Nearly $7.7 million was paid to landlords and utility providers to prevent evictions,” said Stacy B. Doré, Director of Development at Kitsap Community Resources. “Our advocacy on behalf of Kitsap residents is supported through investments such as this - and we’re grateful that Rep. Kilmer remains a strong advocate at the federal level for getting this included in the Build Back Better Act.”

“Throughout the COVID pandemic, it's been clear to me that housing is healthcare,” said Diana Tyree-Eddy, group co-leader of RESULTS Bremerton/North Kitsap. “I work as a Head Start teacher with the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe and know families who have needlessly suffered an extra-long time with COVID because they live in multigenerational cramped housing. Kids in my classroom missed out over a month from school as one after the other of their siblings and/or adult caregivers caught COVID. These are kids that need to be in school and their cramped housing situation exacerbated their healthcare and educational outcomes. These investments are long overdue, and Rep. Kilmer is wise and compassionate to advocate for them.”

The letter is endorsed by National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Alliance to End Homelessness, and RESULTS. 

See the text of the letter here