April 09, 2024

Gallego, Titus Fight to Address Housing Shortage with New Bill

The ‘Housing Voucher Fairness Act’ comes after Gallego pressed the Administration to take action to lower housing costs in Arizona

WASHINGTONRep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) and Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01) introduced the Housing Vouchers Fairness Act to increase the number of vouchers allocated to states such as Arizona and Nevada and lower housing costs.

“Far too many Arizonans can’t afford housing because outdated federal housing laws disproportionally benefit East Coast cities. That’s not right,” Rep. Gallego said. “My bill corrects this historic shortfall to lower costs for everyday Arizonans and increase affordable housing.”

"The number of Affordable Housing Choice Vouchers has lagged behind the increased demand in our fastest growing cities. We must tackle housing costs on all fronts to ensure access to safe affordable housing. This bill directs HUD to provide funding for additional vouchers to the 25 fastest growing metropolitan areas of 100,000 people or more, including those here in Southern Nevada. I will continue working to ensure housing is treated as a right, not a privilege,” Rep. Titus said.

The bill comes after Gallego previously pressed the Administration to take action and do more to lower housing costs. In a letter to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge, Gallego pushed the Secretary to exercise her “authority, pursuant to all existing laws and regulations, to redistribute unused [Housing Choice Vouchers].”

HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program does not meet Arizona's housing supply challenge because the number of available vouchers has not sufficiently kept pace with the state’s growing population. Currently, the federal formulas that allocate vouchers are based on outdated population calculations dating back to the 20th century.

For example, Phoenix currently receives 7,487 vouchers, yet Philadelphia, the nation’s sixth largest, receives over 22,000, three times as many.

The Housing Vouchers Fairness Act corrects this disparity by authorizing an additional $2 billion in funding for HUD for the Housing Choice Voucher program to ensure the public housing authorities that represent the country’s 25 fastest-growing cities with a population of over 100,000 have the resources they need to procure enough vouchers to meet the needs of their population.

“The Housing Choice Voucher program is a critical resource ensuring access to much-needed affordable housing for individuals and families. As Phoenix continues to grow, it becomes evident that our current voucher allocation does not adequately address the needs of the fifth largest city in the nation. Increasing the voucher allocation would significantly enhance housing affordability for more renters throughout our community. There has never been a greater need for affordable housing than the present,” said Titus Matthew, City of Phoenix Housing Director.

Lowering the cost of housing in Arizona is one of Rep. Gallego’s top priorities, and this bill builds on his continued efforts. He recently sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission calling on the Commission to investigate alleged anticompetitive prices by the rent-pricing company RealPage. In February, he hosted two roundtables to discuss his efforts to increase affordable housing and tackle the issue of homelessness in Arizona.

Click here for a one-pager of the legislation.

Click here to see text of the legislation.

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