From: The Honorable Nydia M. Velazquez
Sent By:
richard.erkel@mail.house.gov

Date: 3/27/2017

Preserve Public Housing and Improve Resident Health

Deadline: March 31, 2017

 

Dear Colleague:

I invite you to join me in sending the attached letter to Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price urging them to support the increased funding levels, outlined below,
in order to preserve public housing and improve the health of residents. 

 

Since the 1930s, the public housing program has served an indispensable role on the continuum of affordable housing.  This program provides housing assistance for 1.2 million
households, approximately half of whom are elderly and persons with disabilities. 

 

However, our nation’s public housing stock continues to deteriorate as Public Housing Agencies struggle with chronic underfunding.  Each year that we fail to adequately fund
public housing, the cost of preserving the existing stock only continues to grow. 

 

As a result of disinvestment, public housing residents face severe health consequences from living in these buildings.  Health problems such as asthma, respiratory illness,
and elevated lead levels are major concerns for public housing residents throughout the nation. 

 

This is a
fixable public health crisis; we must reinvest in our nation’s public housing stock so public housing authorities can keep up with their aging infrastructure.  That is why I am calling for the following:

 

  • Appropriate at least $5 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund in order to cover the estimated annual maintenance needs of public housing authorities
    and also provide funding to address a portion of the capital repairs backlog. 
  • Target at least $600 million of this increased funding to capital repairs that would improve the health of public housing residents including mold, deteriorating
    lead-based paint, and other hazards.
  • Fully fund the Public Housing Operating Fund at 100 percent proration in order to address the estimated annual operating costs. 

 

Please join me in supporting these funding requests.  If you wish to sign this letter, please have your staff contact Rick Erkel at
Richard.Erkel@mail.house.gov

 

Sincerely,

 

Nydia M. Velazquez

Member of Congress

 

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Dear Chair Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price:

 

As the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) begins its important work on Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding, we urge you
to restore funding for the Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds. We cannot wait any longer to preserve the nation’s most at-risk public housing and improve the health and safety of tens of thousands residents.  Federal funding created public housing
and is critical to maintaining it in decent and safe condition for our nation’s most vulnerable families with children, elderly, and people with disabilities.  This investment requires a robust FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related
Agencies (T-HUD) 302(b) subcommittee allocation and we urge the Appropriations Committee to increase the allocation. 

 

We urge you to halt the deterioration of public housing infrastructure by providing at least $5 billion to the Public Housing Capital Fund.  At least $600 million of the increased
funding should be strategically targeted to capital repairs related to mold, deteriorating lead-based paint, and other hazards that would improve the health of public housing residents.  For example, the root cause of mold infestations in public housing includes
leaky roofs, crumbling exterior bricks, and old piping.  Addressing these issues could improve the health and quality of life for tens of thousands of children, elderly, and disabled residents.  Additionally, collaboration between HUD and the Department of
Health and Human Services would allow agencies to measure the health impacts and federal cost savings from such a capital investment.  

 

We also urge you to fund the Public Housing Operating Fund at 100 percent proration in order to address the estimated annual operating costs.  Funding public housing agencies
at 100 percent of the funding needed according to formula would allow PHAs to respond more quickly and efficiently to health and safety-related maintenance issues.

 

Without these investments, to fill critical funding gaps, public housing authorities across the country are at risk of losing valuable housing units at a faster rate than
our current annual loss of 10,000 units per year, and add exponentially to the 200,000 units that have been lost since 2010. 

 

After years of underfunding public housing we are at a cross-road; we can invest and preserve our nation’s valuable public housing or we can choose to lose public housing
units due to underfunding, decay, and neglect.  We urge you to increase funding to preserve public housing. 

 

Sincerely,

 

XXXXX

 

Cc:

Chair Cochran

Vice-Chair Leahy

Chair Rogers

Ranking Member Lowey