2021 U.S. Poverty Laser Talks

February 25, 2021

Prioritize Bold Housing Policies for Low-Income Renters

Engage: The COVID-19 pandemic has made America’s housing crisis far worse. This is hitting families in our community hard, especially low-income Black renters, Indigenous families, and other people of color.

Problem:  Without resources to help renters get current on their rent, millions of renters could face eviction in the coming months.

Inform or Illustrate: Economist Mark Zandi estimates that renters owed over $50 billion in back rent in January. Congress must move quickly to pass COVID relief legislation and then focus on addressing our underlying housing crisis, with a focus on addressing the legacy of systemic racism in housing [include your own experience and/or why you care].  

Call to Action: Will you support a strong COVID relief package with at least $30 billion in rental and utility assistance?

Will you also support bold, large-scale housing policies that ensure all eligible low-income renters can get federal housing assistance? For example, making the Housing Choice Voucher program available to all eligible low-income renters (right now, only 1 in 4 get assistance) would lift over 30 million people above the federal poverty line. Is this something you’ll support? What other policies are you prioritizing to address our underlying housing crisis?

How may we follow up with you on this?

Expand Tax Credits for Low-Income Workers and Families

Engage: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit are two of our most effective ways of reducing poverty. Together, they lifted 7.5 million people above the poverty line in 2019.

Problem: Unfortunately, 27 million low-income children are excluded from the full CTC and 5 million younger workers and others without children in the home are taxed into poverty each year because their EITC is too low.

Inform or Illustrate: Congress is considering increasing the EITC for workers without children and expanding it to younger workers in COVID relief, which would boost incomes for 17 million low-income workers. And proposals to increase the CTC and expand it so all low-income families receive the full credit – on a monthly basis could reduce child poverty by 45 percent. [include your own experience and/or why you care]

Call to Action: We must do all we can to support those who need help getting back on their feet in this pandemic and beyond. Will you urge congressional leadership to include expansions of the EITC and CTC for low-income workers and families in both the COVID relief bill and subsequent recovery legislation?

How may I follow up with you on this?

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