Affordable housing is a foundation from which low-income families can establish economic security and upward mobility. Yet affordable, decent housing is out of reach for many. The average hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is more than 2.5 times the federal minimum wage, and $4 more than the average wage of $15.16 earned by renters nationwide. In 2014, nearly 84% of households with incomes below $15,000 paid rents that they could not afford (more than 30% of their income). Housing discrimination leaves people of color segregated in communities without the same level of access to quality schools, housing, and other critical resources.
Nevertheless, legislation considered by elected officials last year would have undermined efforts to further fair housing and address systemic housing discrimination. Congress also failed to reauthorize funding for a program that serves homeless youth.
S. 159—Reauthorizing the federal programs that help homeless youth: Adoption of this amendment would have reauthorized and improved the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, a federal program that provides vital services to homeless young people.
H. 307—Prohibiting federal support for organizations that fight for fair housing: Enacting this amendment would have defunded a federal initiative supporting organizations that advance individual fair housing complaints, test for systemic discrimination, and implement other fair housing activities.
H. 311—Banning use of HUD funds for assessing patterns of housing discrimination: Enacting this amendment would have banned the use of HUD appropriations to fund assessments of efforts to address historic patterns of housing segregation and promote fair housing choice and inclusive communities.
H. 287—Banning use of federal funds to litigate based on disparate impact theory: Enacting this amendment would have barred the Department of Justice from using federal funds to litigate based on disparate impact theory, an essential tool for enforcing the Fair Housing Act.