Affordable Housing is a Human Right

Regarding “Vouchers fall short as rents skyrocket” (Oct. 21), Rachel Swan lays out the housing crisis tearing apart our community. Rents in Oakland have grown faster than anywhere else in the nation. If rents continue to rise at this pace, we risk losing our cherished East Bay culture. The solution is multifaceted and requires local, state and federal efforts.

Federally, we need a “fair market rent” formula that accurately reflects the real housing costs in our community. Just this week, I spoke with HUD Secretary Julian Castro about achieving this goal, and I will keep fighting for this. We also need serious federal investments in affordable housing, but Republican cuts are taking us in the wrong direction. They cut Section 8 and raided the National Housing Trust Fund. The NHTF is the only source of new funding for affordable housing for our poorest families, and I attempted to fully fund this program after the GOP’s bill zeroed it out. Sadly, it was defeated on a party-line vote.

Access to affordable housing is a fundamental human right. It’s past time for both parties to come together and ensure that our neighbors can remain in their homes.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Oakland

Read the original in the San Francisco Chronicle.