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Pelosi: Housing Bill a Critical Step in Addressing Nation’s Affordable Housing Crisis

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RISMEDIA, July 16, 2007—Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on H.R. 1851, the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2007, sponsored by Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California.

“Housing is a fundamental human need, but as federal housing initiatives have shrunk and the cost of housing has soared in recent years, more Americans have found themselves without a roof over their heads. As the minimum wage stagnated over the past 10 years under the Republican-led Congress, the gap between families’ earnings and the cost of housing has grown larger.

“Many working families pay more than half their income for rent or live in substandard rental housing. Too many low-income Americans — many of them disabled, veterans, elderly, or children — have been forced into substandard housing, homeless shelters, and onto the street.

“Democrats are narrowing this terrible gap from both directions. Overcoming stiff opposition from the Bush Administration, Congress passed an increase in the minimum wage, and on July 24, millions of hard-working Americans will receive a pay raise for the first time in a decade.    

“Today’s legislation will provide housing for 100,000 families over the next five years, in addition to the close to 2 million households already served by Section 8. The bill will improve the efficiency of the initiative, encourage self-sufficiency for low-income families, promote homeownership, and ensure that vouchers can be used to create new
affordable housing developments for seniors, disabled, and homeless people.

“In the funding bill for the current fiscal year — which the Republicans failed to finish last year — the Democratic Congress significantly increased funding for Section 8. The House has also passed legislation to restore housing in the areas devastated by Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita. We plan to take up legislation to establish an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that will build or preserve 1.5 million units of affordable housing over the next 10 years.    

“We must not leave our fellow Americans out in the cold, or out in insufferable heat either. People without housing have great challenges obtaining employment, food, education, and so many other basic necessities that most Americans take for granted. We must address the affordable housing crisis, and this bill is a critical step in the right direction.”

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