Take action on affordable housing

Housing advocates worry that funding for Section 8 housing may not be fully funded by the current Congress. Jane Graf, president and CEO of Mercy Housing, a nonprofit that provides provides affordable housing in the western states of the U.S., writes: “A recent survey asked me what my biggest concern was for 2017 in regards to affordable housing finance. Without hesitation, I answered, ‘Section 8 renewals.'”

Graf suggests that if we want to keep Section 8 housing fully funded, we should contact our elected representatives in Washington to tell them this. Graf added that the National Housing Trust has a suggested message you can use to write to your elected officials, online here.

I used the Common Cause Web site — here — to find contact information for my elected officials. I modified the National Housing Trust talking points into a letter that focuses on my main concerns: housing for seniors, and housing here in Silicon Valley. I’ve included a version of my letter below, in case you share my concerns and want to save time by using my wording.

You now have no excuse. Take five minutes and use the online contact forms for your elected officials to express your opinion about Section 8 funding. Or take fifteen minutes, and send a physical letter.

Here’s my sample letter:

Dear Kamala Harris / Dianne Feinstein / Jackie Speier,

I am writing to let you know that I support adequate funding for affordable rental housing for low-income households in my community.

As you know, the Bay Area in in the midst of a rental housing crisis. The cost of rental housing is so high that many families have to pay more than half their income on rent. Here in Silicon Valley, we see the effects of high rents first hand. The elderly are particularly hard-hit. This includes especially elders who are on a fixed income, who have lived in this area their entire adult lives, and who have no other options.

During Congressional budget talks, please aggressively support and even expand HUD’s Section 8 rental assistance, as well as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. If Congress is not able to protect Section 8 housing credits, we’re going to see a lot of seniors living in their cars and on the streets — we are that close to housing disaster here in Silicon Valley. These are people who helped make America great, and they do not deserve to be thrown out on the streets now that they are elders.

Ideally, Congress would help fund the construction of additional Section 8 housing, and/or other affordable housing, through infrastructure legislation. Funding such construction would create good jobs for Americans, as well as providing adequate housing for our elders.

Dan Harper
[my address]

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