The lack of affordable housing for low and moderate income families is the nation's No. 1 housing problem. This problem endangers family security and community stability on a national level. Slow wage increases and rising rents have made it nearly impossible for many renters to adequately house themselves and their families. More and more low and moderate income households are using over 50 percent of their earnings for rent. At the same time, many are seeing their average monthly income decline and their rent payments increase disproportionately.
Millions of low and moderate income renters are also not receiving the sufficient rental assistance they need to maintain a sustainable living. Despite the considerable squeeze and growing need for help, many families do not receive federal rent assistance from HUD. In fact, federal housing assistance reaches only about one in four income-eligible households.
In New York, our affordable housing stock is rapidly diminishing. We continue to lose affordable apartments when building owners opt out of a HUD ''Section 8'' program that guarantees rent payments to owners who lease to low-income tenants.
As your representative in Washington, rest assured that I am committed doing what I can to protect, maintain and increase affordable housing in central Brooklyn.
Public housing makes living in New York possible for thousands of low-income families. Public housing has preserved economic diversity in many parts of the city where skyrocketing rents have forced low-income people from all walks of live out of the area. A recent article reported that the average family income in public housing is about $20,000 annually and the average rent is $320. There are 343 public housing developments including almost 2,700 buildings and according to the New York City Housing Authority, it provides homes to more than 400,000 New Yorkers. However, the waiting list to get in is long, with over 130,000 people. I am committed to exploring and examining new strategies, initiatives, and policies to expand and preserve public housing so that low-income individuals in central Brooklyn can attain a sustainable quality of life.
The collapse in the housing market has negatively impacted countless individuals including people in New York City. The rise in housing prices was fueled by new mortgage products that allowed people to buy homes with no down payment upfront. Many of these loans did not require income verification. Then the mortgages were packaged and sold as securities to financial institutions. A credit crunch erupted when many people failed to repay their loans.
Last year, about 50 percent of all mortgagors spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, including mortgage, taxes, insurance and utilities. Additionally, more than one quarter paid over 50 percent.
But what is alarming is that for Hispanics, Blacks and Asians, the figures were even higher. Half of Hispanics paid at least 37 percent and one quarter spent 81 percent or more. For Blacks, the figures were 44 percent and 71 percent, and for Asians the figures were 38 and 63 percent.
I will continue to be a voice for those in central Brooklyn seeking to own their home as well as those in the rental community by supporting bills that protect homeowners and renters alike.
More on Affordable Housing
Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke announced today that she has become a co-sponsor of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which will protect homeowners from substantial increases in the cost of flood insurance as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
The bill – supported by bipartisan coalitions in the House of Representatives and the Senate – would delay premium increases in National Flood Insurance Program for four years, until the Federal Emergency Management Agency have the ability to complete an affordability study.