CLARKE AND GILLIBRAND INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS CORE CAUSES OF UNAFFORDABLE HOUSING IN URBAN AREAS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 12, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT: 

e: jeanette.lenoir@mail.house.gov

c: 202.480.5737

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the bicameral Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act of 2022 as a multi-pronged approach to address some of the core challenges that have led to a severe lack of affordable housing in our nation’s urban areas.

In cities across the country, including Brooklyn, soaring rent prices and the severe lack of affordable housing units continues to displace low-income communities and keep basic housing needs out of reach. Nationwide, just under half of all renters face a rent burden exceeding 30% of their income. Even more troublingly, almost 1 in 4 renters contribute more than 50% of their income to rent every single month. Cities, once the cornerstone of the American dream, are quickly becoming out of reach for too many Americans, particularly in areas hardest hit by COVID-19. While there are many factors contributing to this crisis, the HUD statistic known as Area Median Income (AMI) which is used to determine rent prices and income limits for affordable units is particularly harmful, as the way AMI is currently calculated excludes actual low-income families from the affordable housing intended for them.

“In my beloved Brooklyn and too many communities across this nation, the security of affordable housing has become entirely out-of-reach to those who rely on it. For the communities of color most impacted by these inequities, we cannot afford to do nothing while they suffer under the unaffordability of safety,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “The simple measures within the Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act won’t only lower income caps and rent prices and significantly increase the supply of affordable housing – they will keep our communities’ most vulnerable groups safe in homes that won’t bankrupt them. This bill is a fundamental step in our fight against housing insecurity, and I am proud to have introduced it.”

“The global pandemic exposed the extent of the housing crisis in this country,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Affordable housing is becoming increasingly hard to find, and we need to rethink the paradigm for how we help low-income families. The Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act of 2022 changes our approach calculating AMI and would also help make housing more affordable for low-income and middle-class families in New York. I look forward to fighting to pass it in the Senate.”

Specifically, the Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act of 2022:

  • Provides urgent support for affordable housing infrastructure in the nation’s most populated areas by authorizing $5 billion for each fiscal year from 2023 through 2032 to the Housing Trust Fund, Community Development Block Grants, and the Home Investment Partnership Program.
  • Directs HUD to assess alternative methods of calculating AMI that could help lower rents and income-limits in qualifying units, such as by performing AMI calculations at more localized levels.
  • Requires the HUD Secretary to submit a report of findings and recommendations to Congress on ways in which both Congress and the Administration could act to make housing more affordable for low-income and middle-class families throughout urban areas nationwide.

The full text of the legislation is available here.

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Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Clarke is a Senior Member of both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Committee on Homeland Security, where she serves as Chair of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Subcommittee.