Our good friends at the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania recently published an open letter to all members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation urging them to support housing programs for all Pennsylvanians. The letter, signed by 300 organizations and businesses, was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and several other newspapers around the state on August 2.
You can add your voice to this important message by contacting your congressional representatives and senators and urge them to work to ensure decent housing for all Pennsylvanians. To get contact information on your legislators, or to send an automatic email, click here.
Open Letter to Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation
Like you, we believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to be able to afford a decent place to live. No child should be homeless. Seniors and people with disabilities should be able to live safely and with dignity.
Since the Great Depression, a network of private sector, community, faith and mission-driven businesses has evolved to address the unmet housing needs of our communities.
This week 300 representatives of this network representing 45,000 homes and a fulltime workforce of 8500 sent you a letter to make sure you understand the disastrous local impact for Pennsylvania’s housing market, job market, families and communities of a deficit reduction plan that cuts housing and homeless programs.
Much has been said about the safety net, as it should be. With unemployment, homelessness, foreclosure and housing instability rising, people are suffering.
The economic impact of these investments has gotten less attention. Cutting housing and homeless programs is pennywise and pound foolish – it will actually cost us more than we save.
Last year, for example, PA received almost $500M from HUD capital programs like CDBG and HOME. They generated an additional $1 billion in economic impact – jobs and new money – from the purchase of construction supplies and services, local spending, wages, tax revenue and ultimately the increase in property values surrounding the new or rehabbed home. That’s double the return on investment.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit syndication brought in over $200 million of private capital to PA last year to help finance affordable rental apartments, generating nearly ten times the public dollars on the table. This is money well spent.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Housing counseling, another program on the chopping block, has been proven to help owners in default successfully negotiate with lenders to prevent foreclosure. In fact, bankers have gone to bat to save it. Foreclosures strip equity from all our homes and neighborhoods, costing far more than counseling.
We can pay now or pay later.
For people experiencing homelessness, permanent supportive housing actually saves taxpayers money by reducing costs to other expensive systems, like corrections, hospitals, and emergency shelter. Studies show that chronically homeless people who live on the street cycle in and out of shelters, jails, hospitals, and actually cost taxpayers more than providing a permanent home.
We, the undersigned, understand that governments, like families, have to cut back in these difficult times. But when families make cuts, the last thing that goes is the mortgage, because, above all, we need our home.
And here’s the kicker, HUD is only 3% of the total federal budget. Cutting HUD hurts us all more than it helps the bottom line. We urge you to invest in a home within reach of every Pennsylvanian.
Learn more about the great work of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania at www.housingalliancepa.org.