Housing and Homelessness

Housing and Homelessness

Creating More Affordable Housing and Addressing the Homelessness Crisis

Everyone should have a home to sleep in. We know that having a home is the first step in accessing other needs – like safety, better health, work, and education.
 
San Diego County has the fourth highest homeless population in the nation but often is around 20th in funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – even with recent increases. So, part of addressing these issues is fighting for more robust federal funding to help end the region’s homelessness crisis, including through targeted investments to provide housing, outreach, and access to social services.
 
As a representative of the 53rd District, I’ll also push for HUD to modernize their funding formula, which I believe will bring further grant funding into our district in support of proven programs to put homeless individuals into permanent housing and help them access the social services they need. I’ll work toward a consistent, government-wide definition of homelessness that takes into account what we know homelessness looks like in our community. And I’ll support federal programs that focus on preventing homelessness, like federal funding for legal counsel and providing emergency assistance in eviction courts.
 
We know that San Diego County has a severe housing shortage. I will support and co-sponsor the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which leverages federal funding to build new housing units for low- and middle-income families by investing in a Housing Trust Fund, a Capital Magnet Fund to leverage private dollars, and a Middle-Class Housing Emergency Fund. And we need to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, and restore its value since the Republican tax bill gutted it.
 
I will also co-sponsor the Rent Relief Act – which creates a refundable rental housing tax credit that would help individuals who live in rental housing and pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent – so that we are not unfairly penalizing renters in our tax code. And I would go even further and allow this tax credit to be directed to a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for a down payment to buy a home. I also support universal housing vouchers, so that anyone who is eligible for housing assistance receives it – instead of only 1 in 8 applicants, as is the case right now.
 
But we know that more funding from the federal government will not solve the problem unless local governments change their zoning laws. So, I support new federal grants that require localities to reform land-use rules to be eligible, which can be used to build infrastructure, parks, roads, or schools. I also support inclusive zoning as a criteria for determining prioritization of new Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
 
And we also know that wealth derived from housing is a major contributor to the racial wealth gap – so I support no or low cost loans to families and individuals who live in formerly red-lined communities, and HUD-administered grants that provide down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers who live in historically red-lined communities.
 
I believe Congress must continue to fund and improve federal programs to root out housing discrimination and make renting and owning a home more accessible and affordable. We need to resist the Trump Administration’s attempts to cut funding for HUD programs that directly reach our communities – like Section 8 rental vouchers, assistance for home buyers, and more.
 
I’ll fight to protect and expand HUD funding for the 53rd District overall, and work to give more benefits to first-time and middle-class home buyers.