WASHINGTON — August 16, 2018 — Today the National League of Cities (NLC) announced that it is joining the steering committee for the “Opportunity Starts at Home” campaign, a multi-sector initiative focused on advancing federal solutions that address housing affordability. As a top priority for city leaders, NLC has long advocated for a federal partnership that works with city leaders to expand housing availability, provide rental assistance to low-income and vulnerable communities, and ensure that all residents have the opportunity for safe, decent and affordable housing.
“America’s housing crisis is worsening as housing prices continue to rise while wages stay flat,” said National League of Cities (NLC) President Mark Stodola, mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas. “Research has shown that there’s not a single city, county or state where a worker earning minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom rental by working a standard 40-hour week. We must act now so America’s cities can continue to be the strength of our nation, with affordable housing that contributes to the economic vitality of our communities.”
“We are very pleased to have the National League of Cities join the Opportunity Starts at Home Steering Committee,” said Mike Koprowski, national director of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign. “Our nation’s housing affordability crisis has reached historic heights and it demands stronger federal action. When people lack access to decent affordable housing, it negatively impacts their health outcomes, educational attainment, and ability to climb the economic ladder. That’s why leaders from a range of sectors – from healthcare to education to civil rights – are coming together to build a broad movement to make affordable homes a top national priority.”
As a steering committee member, NLC will work to drive the campaign to address the fast-growing gap between rents and incomes in many parts of the country, and the growing political opposition and attacks on federal housing assistance programs. Other organizations on the steering committee include the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the Children’s Defense Fund, the National Education Association (NEA), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Housing affordability, supply and homelessness are among the top priorities for cities in every population category above 50,000, according to NLC data,” said Councilmember Brandon Scott of Baltimore, Maryland, who is vice chair of NLC’s Large Cities Council.
From cities large to small, we’re struggling with the consequences of the skyrocketing housing market, where many of our communities don’t have the security of stable housing.” “City leaders cannot close the housing affordability gap on our own,” said Councilmember Gyna Bivens of Ft. Worth, Texas, and chair of NLC’s Community and Economic Development federal advocacy committee. “We need Congress to prioritize affordable housing and work with local partners to coordinate federal housing resources.”
NLC is a founding partner of Mayors & CEOs for Housing Investment, a first-of-its-kind coalition of local governments and business leaders dedicated to advancing public-private partnerships that tackle affordable housing and homelessness and actively oppose federal funding cuts. In May, the group announced a $200 million investment in housing and homelessness prevention by Kaiser Permanente. NLC has also produced several resources on housing, including the Partnership for Quality Affordable Housing and Supportive Health Services.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. Learn more at nlc.org.
Thousands of city leaders will gather November 7-10 in Los Angeles, California, for NLC’s annual City Summit conference. City Summit is the only national meeting that offers best practices and networking opportunities for both elected officials and city staff. Learn more at citysummit.nlc.org.