Making Homes Affordable: Funding for the American Dream
For the last few weeks now, I have been working as the Operations Intern at the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). In this position, I get to see everything that is going on around the other parts of the coalition: policy, outreach, communications and research. I have learned about many major issues involving economic equality and providing homes for low-income people. These are major problems that need to be addressed, despite some government programs that have already been implemented.
NLIHC’s biggest priority right now is ensuring funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The trust fund was a huge effort for many years to find a way to supply funding for low-income housing across the country. Although it was finally passed and established under the W. Bush administration, it was never funded. At the NLIHC, we want to correct this issue, since without funding, it is impossible for the NHTF to fulfill its mandate. By advocating for funding for the NHTF, we are encouraging the importance for the government to provide a social safety net.
Sequestration has proved to be a big stumbling block preventing the coalition from receiving funding for the program, so the NLIHC has been supporting a piece of legislation in the House of Representatives known as H.R. 1213, the Common Sense Housing Investment Act of 2013. This program would not only raise revenues to help fund the NHTF by lowering the cap on the amount of mortgage for which interest can be deducted, but it also changes the mortgage deduction to a tax credit so that a person filing their taxes does not have to itemize them in order to receive their reimbursement. By supporting this legislation, elected officials are providing funding for low-income housing while providing an easier process for people who currently have mortgages to receive the tax credit.
Overall the start of this summer has been amazing. I have learned so much about the issue of low-income housing and the work of advocacy organizations. I am really excited about the next four weeks and all that I can achieve during them. Through the NLIHC, I’m not only trying to help people find a house, but make sure everyone has the home they deserve.