Mother’s Day Brings Needed Attention to Affordable Housing

29,300 NJ Mothers Head Households
That Rely on Housing Choice Vouchers

Mother’s Day Brings Needed Attention to Affordable HousingOn Mother’s Day this Sunday, we’ll honor mothers everywhere for all they do to give their families a safe and loving home.

And while many mothers will enjoy brunch and flowers, many low-income mothers would happily forgo gifts and cards for the opportunity to provide a safe and affordable home for their families.

Housing vouchers help one million mothers — over 29,300 in New Jersey — keep a roof over their families’ heads by covering part of the cost of modest private rental housing. But funding falls far short of need and recent cuts have hurt the program, a problem that Congress needs to address when it sets next year’s Housing Choice Voucher Program funding.

As the mother of two young children, although I often take it for granted, I am grateful that my husband, girls and I have a roof over our head every night. I am also thankful for the safe and loving home that my own mother along with my father provided for my younger brother and I while we were growing up. And I hope that our home gives our children the stability and support to succeed both in school and their adult lives.

Studies show that vouchers sharply reduce homelessness, lift households out of poverty, and enable many families to move to safer, less poor neighborhoods. Vouchers help children succeed over the long term — both in school and as adults.

Vouchers are especially important to mothers. Women with children head nine in ten households receiving vouchers.

With more low-income renters shouldering unaffordable housing costs than ever before, many areas of the country have long lines for vouchers. In New Jersey, over 407,000 low-income moms eligible for vouchers do not receive any rental assistance.

Unfortunately, Congress has made the problem worse. Sharp, across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” forced state and local housing agencies to eliminate tens of thousands of vouchers last year, including 350 vouchers in New Jersey. Although Congress boosted funding this year, it was not enough to restore even half of the lost vouchers nationally. Funding is still needed for 40,000 vouchers across the country lost due to sequestration.

Congress will soon decide on voucher funding for the next fiscal year (FY2015.) Given the program’s proven success and the large and growing need for help, Congress should fully reverse the sequestration cuts. Click here for contact information for NJ’s Congressional delegation.