LAZIO SAYS MARKET FORCES NOT ENOUGH TO FIX AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS
by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa
According to HUD, over 12 million American households spend more than half their income on housing – there's not a single city in the United States where the average single-income family can afford rent on a 2-bedroom apartment.
The struggle for affordable, safe, housing is reaching a crisis point.
What exactly is "affordable" housing? According to four-term New York Congressman, Rick Lazio, the definition accepted by lending institutions and government agencies is housing which consumes no more than one third of a household's income.
Speaking on The Costa Report, Lazio wasted no time acknowledging that government leaders and the media have been slow to address the rising cost of shelter. Lazio, best known for opposing Hillary Clinton in the 2000 New York Senate race and track record as Chairman of the House Banking Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, pointed to the ripple effect poor housing has on productivity, family life and mental health in America: "I think about housing as a catalyst to organize your life," said Mr. Lazio. "It's virtually impossible to get your life together if you don't have some place to go back to that is a safe home."
When asked by host, Rebecca Costa, whether this was a problem better solved by the free market than by government, Lazio pointed to the effect the shortage of affordable housing is already having on seniors, disabled citizens, and single-income households: "The market alone will not correct for those folks."
Lazio's solution? Public-private partnerships made possible by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. "It's private investment dollars that make these projects work," said Mr. Lazio, "(These partnerships are) affordable and sustainable from an economic standpoint for the developers, and at the same time provide affordable, safe housing for people in need."
Lazio also called attention to the need for bipartisan cooperation to address the low-income housing crises. According to Lazio, "We're going to have to find a safe place where compromise is no longer a dirty word."
To hear Lazio's unedited interview on affordable housing, visit www.thecostareport.com