Lawmakers form ‘Congressional Renters Caucus’ to tackle rental crisis

Even as inflation is cooling, the rental crisis is hitting communities from coast to coast.

The problem is only made worse by the growing demand and limited supply of affordable housing.

“There’s not a single state or Congressional district in the country with enough deeply affordable homes to meet demand,” said Kim Johnson, Policy Manager at the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).

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According to NLIHC, the U.S. has a shortage of 7.3 million affordable rental homes that extremely low-income people can access and afford.

On Wednesday, a group of House Democrats announced the creation of the first ever Congressional Renters Caucus aimed at addressing these needs.

“The average American renter is considered rent-burdened, meaning they pay over 30 percent of their income to rent,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Renters Caucus. “Legislatively, we’re exploring various measures to provide assistance for rent-burdened individuals, increase affordable housing options nationwide and combat discrimination against renters.”

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Members say the purpose is to look at how the federal government can pass policies that help struggling renters.

“How can we use the resources that we have here to make sure we are not leaving holes through which families, renters, drop through to the bottom,” said Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-C), a member of the Caucus.

Lawmakers from both parties agree there is a housing and rental crisis.

Democrats are calling for stronger renter protections and rental assistance efforts.

Republicans have been pushing for tax incentives and fewer government regulations to help create more housing supply.

“Zoning laws and regulatory barriers are often uncoordinated, unnecessary or overly cumbersome and can ultimately work against the goal of providing affordable housing by creating excessive development costs,” said Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) during a Senate hearing in March.

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