2021 U.S. Poverty Laser Talks

June 11, 2021

Prioritize Bold Housing Policies in Recovery Package

Engage: Because of rising rents and stagnant wages, millions of families are paying more than half their earnings toward rent.

Problem:  Only 1 in 4 eligible renters is able to access federal housing assistance, and people of color are more likely to be cost-burdened renters.

Inform:  Access to housing is critical for the well-being of families, yet millions struggle to keep a roof over their heads and meet basic needs  [personalize by sharing your story, more about the high cost of rent/housing, homelessness, and/or evictions in your area]. And because of the legacy of segregation, Black households (13 percent of total) make up 26 percent of all extremely low-income renters and 40 percent of people experiencing homelessness. By expanding rental assistance to all eligible renters with guaranteed multi-year funding, as well as expanding the supply of affordable housing, we can stably house millions of families and start to undo the legacy of racial discrimination in housing.

What are your priorities when it comes addressing the affordable housing crisis?

Call to Action: Will you tell congressional leaders to include guaranteed multi-year funding for Housing Choice Vouchers in recovery legislation? And will you show your support by signing on to pending legislation or Dear Colleague letter calling for this expansion?

Reduce Poverty for Low-Income Workers and Families

Engage: Before 2021, 27 million low-income children were excluded from the full Child Tax Credit and 5 million younger workers and others without children in the home were taxed into poverty each year because their Earned Income Tax Credit was too low.

Problem: Recent legislation fixed these gaps but only for one year. If they are not made permanent, millions of workers and children will fall below the poverty line next year.

Inform: The EITC and CTC are exceptional at reducing poverty. In 2019, they together lifted 7.5 million people above the poverty line. And this year, the EITC changes will boost incomes for 17 million low-wage workers and the CTC expansion, including its new monthly allowance option, is projected to reduce child poverty by 45 percent [Share your own experience along with state data about the impact of expanding EITC and CTC].

What are your priorities for keeping workers and children out of poverty?

Call to Action:  We must build on this stunning achievement in poverty reduction, not abandon it after one year. Will you urge congressional leaders to make the EITC and CTC expansions permanent this year? How may I follow up with you on this?

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