Let's make sure housing is affordable for all
Congressman Rothman is a long-time champion of affordable housing for New Jersey's most vulnerable residents. He has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at increasing access to housing, including the HOME Act, which would provide an additional 150,000 vouchers to public housing agencies.
For more information, you can read an op-ed by Rep. Rothman about increasing affordable housing options in New Jersey and read his position statement on affordable housing below.
Congressman Rothman's Statement on Affordable Housing
I am committed to ensuring affordable housing for the people of New Jersey and for all Americans. We all know that affordable housing is scarce in Northern New Jersey, due to a lack of viable properties and the increasing cost of living. New Jersey ranks 47th out of the 50 states in the nation in the amount of available affordable housing. I will continue to do all that I can to help revitalize our distressed communities and ensure that New Jersey residents are able to obtain the affordable housing they need.
By providing affordable housing to families and individuals in our region, we help build stable communities where jobs and services can flourish and create neighborhoods for all children to call home.
Fully Funding Important U.S. Housing and Urban Development Programs
As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I help advise the Federal government on how to spend money on housing and community development goals. In this capacity, I remain committed to fully funding the numerous important programs under HUD's jurisdiction, including the Section 8 program, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Section 811 (disabled) housing, Section 202 (elderly) housing, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.
The Section 8 Voucher Program, which serves over 2 million households, is the largest federal program designed to provide affordable housing to low income families. Section 8 vouchers are tenant-based subsidies, determined by both family income and rent, which families with low income use in the private market to lower their rent costs to 30% of their incomes.
The CDBG program is the largest source of federal financial assistance in support of state and local governments' community development and neighborhood revitalization activities. The program promotes local decision-making and is intended to principally benefit low- or moderate-income individuals, prevent or eliminate slums and blight, and meet urgent needs that threaten the health and safety of the public.
Improving Efficiency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
I have supported legislation that would provide stricter oversight of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since the creation of Fannie Mae in 1938 and Freddie Mac in 1970, the GSEs have served an important housing function by improving the distribution of capital available for home mortgage financing. However, recent events, such as the use of improper accounting practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have raised serious concerns about the adequacy of the current regulatory environment for the housing-related GSEs. I believe that it is therefore necessary to create a Federal Housing Finance Agency that will supervise and regulate the GSEs. This legislation, called the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act, would also establish new Affordable Housing Funds at both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The purpose of these funds would be to:
* increase homeownership for families with extremely low and very low incomes
* encourage investment in housing in low-income areas, and
* expand and preserve the supply of rental homes for low income families.
Tax Credit for First-Time Homebuyers
I have also been a long time supporter of legislation that helps first-time homebuyers. The Renewing the Dream Tax Credit would create a community homeownership tax credit in order to enable low- and moderate-income individuals and families to purchase a home. Congress should pass this bill immediately.
President's Budgets Have Ignored Affordable Housing
The budgets that the President has proposed in recent years fail to reflect the values we hold and the promises our government has made to care for those Americans who are most in need. The proposals are fiscally irresponsible, adding trillions to the deficit over the next 10 years; and cut funding for vital housing, community development, education, veterans, and health care programs. Congress has thus far been successful in softening many of the housing-related cuts proposed by the President, including those to the Section 8 and CDBG programs, but much more must be done to achieve the realization of affordable housing for all Americans. That need is why I will continue to fight for important housing and community development goals.