Saperstein: The creation of the affordable housing trust fund is a significant achievement that will considerably alleviate the burden of high housing costs for millions of low income Americans struggling to survive.
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Washington, July 30, 2008 – In response to the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which establishes a permanent affordable housing trust fund, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We commend Congress and President Bush for establishing a permanent affordable housing trust fund that will provide a dedicated source of revenue for the production and preservation of rental housing for the lowest income Americans. This constitutes the first new program to provide housing for the lowest income households since 1974 and it is long overdue.
The legislation signed by the President is in response to the recent collapse of the housing and financial markets, but the United States has been in the midst of an affordable housing crisis for some time. More than 37 million households pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, often forcing low income people to choose between housing and other necessities like medicine, food or fuel.
The lack of affordable housing is also the primary cause of homelessness. Roughly 800,000 people sleep on the streets on any given night and 3.5 million people will experience homelessness over the course of a year. The creation of the affordable housing trust fund is a significant achievement that will considerably alleviate the burden of high housing costs for millions of low income Americans struggling to survive.
Jewish tradition teaches that it is greater to help a person become self-sufficient than it is to give the person a hand-out. The Reform Movement has endorsed the National Housing Trust Fund Campaign, led by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, since its formation in 2001. We applaud the work of NLIHC and our coalition partners in the campaign. With the trust fund established, we now continue to work toward the campaign’s goal of producing and preserving 1.5 million safe, decent, and affordable homes in 10 years.