ICYMI: Young travels Indiana discussing housing affordability
INDIANAPOLIS – Over the last two weeks, Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) has visited 20 counties across the state of Indiana meeting with Hoosiers and making the pitch for Congress to act to fix the housing affordability crisis in the United States. Read more about his visits below.
“You are talking our language here,” [Homestead Consulting Services Marie] Morse told Young, in front of nearly two dozen people, including state lawmakers and those in Greater Lafayette’s affordable housing social services sector.
In May, Young was among a mix of Republican and Democratic senators who introduced the bill, which would establish an 18-member committee that would be given 18 months to make recommendations about how federal affordable housing programs could work better.
Young, a former Republican member of the U.S. House elected senator in 2016, said he came away from a series of roundtables across the state… surprised by how pressing the issue was.
“These are not red or blue issues. These are not Democrat or Republican, or liberal or conservative issues. These are just issues affecting people of modest means around the state of Indiana. Incidentally, they’re also impacting our labor force. So, they need to be addressed.”
The Senator’s objective on meeting with numerous community leaders over the next few weeks is to visit areas that aren’t used to seeing a U.S. Senator very much.
“I want to hold many roundtable discussions in urban and rural areas across the state,” added Young. “So far, I keep identifying a lot of the same issues; the opioid crisis, the need to upscale workers, and the lack of affordable housing in certain areas.”
Young is introducing bipartisan legislation that he feels will help address the affordable housing crisis.
Young and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson held a joint press conference Monday afternoon in Gary City Hall.
"We are excited about this prospect. We have seen countless times how our citizens have benefited from housing that has been provided by federal housing programs. We expect the results of this task force to be great," the mayor said.
Young said, "For millions of Americans, a lack of affordable housing has negative, profound and lasting consequences. Research shows that an inability to access safe and affordable homes jeopardizes educational performance and economic mobility, and leaves families with fewer dollars to spend on health care, groceries, and other important expenses – further ingraining families in the cycle of poverty."
Young said he introduced legislation in May to encourage greater choice and mobility in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Housing Choice Voucher Program.
He said the bill would help families live and work closer to high opportunity areas. Coupled with those efforts, the task force would take a major step towards solving the affordable housing crisis.
“The lack of affordable housing is at crisis levels,” Young said.
Young said something must be done so housing isn’t a barrier to someone having a fair shot.
“This is not one of those study commissions that does nothing,” Young said. “We aim to act.”
Sen. Young also spoke with Greater Lafayette organizations, like Homestead and Lafayette Transitional Housing, who work to prevent homelessness. Young says the task force would evaluate and quantify the impact of housing costs on government programs.
He hopes the legislation will be passed out of the Senate and on the president's desk by the end of year.
A blue ribbon commission will then have 18 months to produce a recommendation to congress. Young hopes those recommendations would then soon be signed into law.
U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., keeps hearing about the lack of affordable housing as he travels across Indiana. He said it has spurred him and eight fellow senators to call for a task force that would study and recommend solutions to that crisis nationwide.
This isn’t just about the very poor, he told news media Tuesday at the Center for the Homeless.
In Jasper County, he said the community has its share of wealth, though he’s also heard about employers who have a hard time drawing workers because of a lack of affordable housing.
In Warsaw, home of a medical device industry, he’s heard about the need for single-family homes.
He also pointed to South Bend, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis as being ranked among the top 20 cities in the U.S. for home evictions.
In 2016, about a quarter of the children in Indiana lived in households where the cost of housing is a burden — specifically, when the cost eats up more than 30 percent of the family’s income. That includes about 48 percent of renters, according to the Indiana Youth Institute.
Young’s No. 1 priority is the economy. He’s working on that, not only by advocating for better workforce training, but by introducing legislation that will help get people through drug treatment and workforce training simultaneously, and promoting access to affordable housing, eliminating that concern for workers.
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