With the cost of living soaring high and cities becoming overcrowded by the day, affordable housing is nothing short of a dream for most working-class Americans. According to a study conducted by the New York University, nearly half of the renters residing in the fifty-three states of the US, spend over 30% of their income on rent and utilities.
This hardship faced by working-class Americans could change with the new bill – Rent Relief Act – which would provide a tax credit for renters to address the escalating housing crisis in the country. The bill was introduced by Senator Kamala Harris. According to her, the Rent Relief Act could positively impact more than 13 million families in the US. She stated:
“America’s affordable housing crisis has left too many families behind who struggle each month to keep a roof over their head. This bill will ensure no family is priced out of the basic security of a place to live.”
Under this Act, a tax credit on rent would be offered to renters based on their income threshold and size of their household. While renters who make less than $100,000 a year and spend around 30% of their income on rent and essential utilities would be given a refundable tax credit, the income threshold for costlier cities would stand at $125,000.
At present, most Americans struggle daily to keep a roof over their heads. To them, homeownership is a far-fetched dream, that they’ll never be able to materialize. Working-class people are being forced out on the streets as they are unable to make rent, and as a consequence, the proportion of homeless populace all across America. For so long, the federal housing policy has continued to transfer a majority of the nation’s wealth to homeowners with perks such as mortgage-interest deductions and so on. In fact, a recent report by Brookings establishes that the current policy not only favors homeowners, but it also benefits some of the wealthiest among them. This only fuels economic inequality in the country. Furthermore, according to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there exists a shortage of nearly 7.4 million housing/rental units in the nation.
In such a scenario, this bill could prove to be a breath of fresh air, a much-needed aid for those who struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet. While this new policy will not be enough to put a roof over the head of all needy Americans, it will still count as a major step towards addressing this situation. As more and more rent-burdened families will find affordable housing facilities, others can wait until the new housing units are completed.
Since the legislature is largely dominated by the Republicans, the bill will likely not be passed without some alterations. However, many progressive steps towards affordable housing and rent are being seen lately in the country, as these two form the core issues in the 2018 and 2020 elections. For instance, few bipartisan senators came forward and introduced a bill to form an Affordable Housing Task Force to research and propose scalable and actionable solutions to address housing challenges.
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