Sending Office: Honorable Adriano Espaillat
**DEADLINE EXTENDED TO CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2018**
I invite you to join me in a letter to the President and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Carson to make public housing a priority in any forthcoming infrastructure agenda and legislation that will come before this 115th
This investment is a commitment towards basic standards of safety and modernity that our constituents should expect that we can deliver. I ask that you join me to make sure that the President and HUD Secretary Carson understand that capital investment in
public housing must be a priority in any infrastructure agenda envisioned by the Executive Branch and debated in Congress.
If you have any questions on this letter, please contact Shahryar M. Baig in my office at
Member of Congress
Letter begins below:
February XX, 2018
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20050
Dear Mr. President:
During the State of the Union address, you asked of Members of Congress from “both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.” We urge you and this Congress to
make public housing a clear and unwavering focus of investment and growth as a commitment to the modern infrastructure that our economy needs and our people deserve.
There are over one million men, women, and children who live in public housing in the United States. There is not one elected member of the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives who does not represent a state or congressional district with constituents
or community that does not rely on public housing. Public housing is inextricable to our nation’s infrastructure and tradition of upward social and economic mobility.
Be it natural disaster, aging infrastructure, or the presence of hazardous materials, we need robust capital investment to immediately ameliorate these deficits. In 2017, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Carson found himself
stuck in an elevator that came to an abrupt halt due to a malfunction. That Secretary Carson – himself the highest-ranking official in charge of public housing – experienced what many public housing residents have resigned themselves to expect is emblematic
of the greater issue. It is the lack of consistent heating; faulty electrical wiring; limited access to broadband internet and telecommunication technologies; irregular lead abatement; and the proliferation of hazardous mold and dangerous airborne pathogens
due to antiquated plumbing. This is a clear and present opportunity to re-orient our definition of infrastructure to include public housing and make capital investments a priority.
Despite the wide reach of public housing across the nation, to date, there has been no infrastructure package or significant investment in capital repairs brought before this 115th Congress. Every day, our national infrastructure further bears
the stress compounded by years of sub-optimal funding for capital improvements and investment in modernization and optimization. The American Society of Civil Engineers found that there is a pressing need to invest $4.69 trillion by 2025 to merely rehabilitate
our current infrastructure to modern standards of safety and commercial demand.
This assessment is iterative of HUD’s most recent
Capitol Needs Assessment which found that the lack of consistent funding of public housing and dwindling capital available for construction and repair was calculated at a deficit of $26 billion. Even more scathing was the finding that the backlog of repair
and investment had not been adequately addressed since a
Capitol Needs Assessment was issued one decade earlier. Since the Clinton Administration, the deficient condition of public housing has not changed or been improved. The status quo is unacceptable. Before Congress, you were unequivocal in your desire “to
permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.” There is no more pressing need than now to make public housing an infrastructure priority and commit more resources towards capital investment and close this critical infrastructure deficit.
Bringing public housing to the fore as an infrastructure priority requires that Democrats and Republican come together to develop bipartisan infrastructure legislation. Any such infrastructure package must reflect the needs and considerations of states,
U.S. territories, cities, localities, and Public Housing Administrators that have been among the most ardent supporters of robust capital investment in public housing across the country. It is our hope that we will return to working on behalf of the American
people who – regardless of party affiliation, socio-economic status, or demography – understand that public housing is a critical component of our national infrastructure and expect their elected representatives to ensure that public housing becomes and remains
a permanent tenet of any discussion of our national infrastructure.
Member of Congress
cc: Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., MD., Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0