Congressman Blumenauer Releases Federal Housing Report

September 5, 2019
Press Release

Portland, Ore.— Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, today released a housing report titled “Locked out: Reversing Federal Housing Failures and Unlocking Opportunity.” This report recognizes the history of federal housing discrimination and underinvestment, offers solutions to solve the housing crisis, and calls on the federal government to invest in a future where housing is a human right. 

“The housing crisis, homelessness, and housing affordability is often overlooked, yet are some of the most prevalent issues our country faces,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “Our federal housing policy has locked out and left behind millions of people solely on the basis of blatant discrimination, segregation, and underinvestment. Federal housing policy needs a reset to reflect housing as a human right. This report illustrates how we got to where we are today and lays out a vision for a future in which everyone is entitled to that right.”

 “In Multnomah County, we help tens of thousands of people avoid or escape the devastating consequences of homelessness every year. But the crisis on our streets continues because the federal government, for decades, has refused to make the necessary investments in affordable housing,” said Marc Jolin, Director of Multnomah County and the City of Portland’s Joint Office of Homeless Services. “The bold steps and approaches set out in Congressman Blumenauer’s plan would change that. Communities across the country could realize the vision of a world where homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time.”

"I’m glad that Congressman Blumenauer has the passion and experience to highlight the need for federal policies that lead to equitable and affordable housing in Portland. It will take honest policymakers and real engagement from the housing development- and banking sectors too to make stable housing a reality for all Portlanders,” said Nkenge Harmon-Johnson, President of the Urban League of Portland.

“Our federal, state and local affordable housing funding program requirements increase the cost per unit, two- and sometimes three-fold of what market-rate developers pay per unit,” said Ernesto Fonseca, CEO of Hacienda Community Development Corporation. “We need to design funding systems that are much more efficient and bring development and construction cost down. The downside of not doing so will prevent us significantly from building more affordable units for those with the greatest need. Failing to make changes soon, will keep us from housing seniors, people with disabilities and low-income earners that need deep subsidies.”

 “Decades of federal disinvestment in subsidized housing has led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of public housing apartments, with hundreds of thousands more deteriorating under people’s feet,” said Michael Buonocore, Executive Director of Portland Home Forward. “We need a comprehensive plan to get us back on track, and we applaud Congressman Blumenauer’s leadership to create one. We need action now.”

Congressman Blumenauer suggests in his report that the federal government must change course and provide bold, transformative solutions to addressing the housing crisis. He advocates for investing more in public housing, combatting homelessness by providing federal funding incentives for state “Housing First” policies, expanding renters and home owners tax credits, and enacting more comprehensive fair housing initiatives.

You can read more about the Congressman's federal housing plan by finding a one-page summary of the report here. The full report can be found here.