Opportunity Starts at Home Unveils National Policy Agenda

Within Reach Outlines Plans to Tackle America’s Affordable Housing Crisis

On January 24, 2019, leading national organizations from the housing, education, health, civil rights, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, and faith-based sectors released a new report, “Within Reach,” which calls for an ambitious federal response to the nation’s housing affordability crisis.

Over the past year, these organizations have joined together through Opportunity Starts at Home, an unprecedented multi-sector campaign to advocate for more robust and equitable federal housing policies. “Within Reach” argues that stronger federal action is long-overdue to ensure that the most vulnerable low-income households can afford safe, decent rental homes.  
 
The report identifies three long-term policy strategies that are essential for Congress to act upon:
 
  • Dramatically expanding rental assistance, such as housing vouchers or renters’ tax credits, to bridge the growing gap between rent and income;
  • Dramatically expanding the supply of housing affordable to the lowest-income renters, which requires larger investments in production programs like the national Housing Trust Fund; and
  • Creating a new national program that provides temporary financial assistance to help cover rent for households experiencing unexpected economic shocks (e.g., loss of work hours, unreimbursed medical bill, broken car). Coupled with stability services, such as counselors and legal aid, this program would extend an emergency cushion to families in crisis, helping them avert the downward spiral of housing instability and homelessness.
 
“This report outlines a broad set of federal policies necessary to solve the housing affordability crisis facing America’s poorest individuals and families,” said Mike Koprowski, national campaign director of Opportunity Starts at Home.  “While states and localities have important roles to play, they cannot solve this problem without stronger action from the federal government.”
 
“We have the resources to invest in proven solutions,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.  “What is missing is the political will to fund them at scale.”
 
“These policies are critically important,” said Barbara Sard, Vice President of Housing Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  “Rigorous research shows that they will reduce poverty and homelessness, and help more low-income children to grow up to be healthy, successful adults.”
 
According to the Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, New Jersey has 299,191 extremely low-income renter households.  
 
In New Jersey, Opportunity Starts at Home has partnered with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey to engage organizations and supporters in New Jersey. Click here to learn more.
 
Click here to read the “Within Reach” report.
 
Click here to read the full press release.
 
Click here for the video of the Congressional Briefing on the release of “Within Reach.”