WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – A newly formed group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill say they’re focused on tackling the rental crisis as the United States falls behind in available and affordable units.
On Wednesday, members of Congress announced the new Renter’s Caucus. Congressmen Jimmy Gomez and Dan Goldman say they’ll focus on finding solutions to the crisis.
Gomez noted that unaffordable rents ultimately hurt the U.S. economy and productivity.
“For the first time since data started being recorded 20 years ago, the average American renter is now considered rent burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income to rent,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez (R-CA) said.
“We can make sure that we have very robust renter protections so that landlords cannot dramatically increase the rents and ultimately kick renters out,” Rep. Danny Goldman (D-NY) added.
Advocates and lawmakers want to tackle issues like rental housing discrimination and affordability.
“This caucus is launching in the midst of an ongoing affordable housing crisis,” said Kim Johnson with the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Nationally, there’s a shortage of over seven million rental units affordable and available to people with the lowest incomes.”
Rep. Goldman also wants to expand the low-income housing tax credit but so far, only Democrats are part of the caucus, and the idea will need bipartisan support.
The founding members still say they’re confident they can get Republicans to join the caucus since all states face challenges meeting the demand for affordable housing.