One in six families in the United States spend more than half their income every month on housing. For many, the tradeoff of covering the cost for a safe place to live means sacrificing other basic needs, like food, health care and transportation.
This week, Lee Silberman, Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk’s chief executive officer and executive director, joined hundreds of other local Habitat organizations, volunteers, partners, and low-income families in Washington, D.C. and around the country to speak up about how unacceptable it is for people to have to make those kinds of choices. This is the first year Habitat Suffolk has participated in Habitat on the Hill.
“We want to encourage our local, state and federal legislators to support policies that promote greater access to safe, decent and affordable housing,” Silberman said. “The need has reached critical levels. Fifty percent of all families in Suffolk County are housing burdened and one-in-five families pay over 50 percent of their income on housing.”
Through Cost of Home — Habitat’s national advocacy campaign — Habitat is expanding efforts to influence policy and systems change at the local, state and federal level in four key areas: supply and preservation of affordable homes; equitable access to credit; land use; and communities of opportunity. The organization aims to improve home affordability for 10 million individuals through advocacy over the five-year campaign.
On Wednesday, Habitat leaders rallied on Capitol Hill and met with federal policymakers to advocate for the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, a policy priority of the Cost of Home campaign. This important legislation will revitalize distressed neighborhoods by using federal income tax credits to incentivize private investment to build and substantially rehabilitate homes for low- and moderate-income homeowners.
Additionally, Silberman met with legislative aides representing Rep. Zeldin, Rep. Suozzi, Rep. Rice, and Sen. Schumer to discuss the benefits of affordable housing legislation and the need for funding to finance the development of new, affordable homes in Suffolk County.
“We are calling on lawmakers and candidates at all levels of government to prioritize housing and budget solutions that support efforts to build and maintain affordable housing,” said Chris Vincent, vice president of government relations and advocacy for Habitat for Humanity International. “Supporting and implementing legislation like the Neighborhood Home Investment Act is a critical step toward making the #CostOfHome something we all can afford.”
The Home Depot Foundation is the premier sponsor of Habitat on the Hill 2020. Since 2011, the Foundation has donated over $22 million to Habitat for Humanity International, including this year’s contribution of over $3 million, to help build, repair or rehabilitate more than 1,300 homes in partnership with U.S. military veterans and their families through Habitat’s Repair Corps.
The Home Depot Foundation is also committed to supporting communities impacted by natural disasters and donates to Habitat’s disaster response, sustainable building practices, and other initiatives to further Habitat’s mission of a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to live.
Submitted by Syntax and Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk