(INDIANAPOLIS) – New legislation introduced this week by Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act, aims to provide 500,000 additional housing vouchers to low-income families with young children that would enable them to access safe, stable housing in areas of opportunity. If enacted, this measure would dramatically reduce family and youth homelessness and improve life outcomes for those assisted.
The legislation prioritizes these new vouchers for low-income pregnant women and families with children under age 6 experiencing persistent housing instability, or living in an area of concentrated poverty. This targeted assistance would be catalytic at a time when the affordable housing crisis throughout the state is acute. In Indiana, a two-bedroom apartment is not affordable for the average renter in 82 of 92 counties; and there is currently a 134,485-unit deficit of housing that is affordable and available to the 27 percent of Indiana renters who are extremely low-income (earning $21,050 or less per year for a family of four).
Limited resources for housing assistance, coupled with high housing cost burden, lead thousands of Hoosier families to face evictions, housing instability, and homelessness – a cycle that has severe negative consequences for health outcomes, educational attainment, and economic mobility.
“The Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act will expand assistance targeted to families urgently in need and prove that poverty is a cycle that can be broken,” said Jessica Love, Executive Director of Prosperity Indiana. “Our network enthusiastically supports this bill and applauds Senators Young and Van Hollen for their leadership in working to ensure unstably housed families and children in our state and across the country have more equitable opportunities to thrive in all facets of life.”
“The American Dream should extend to every American child, regardless of the circumstances of their birth. The evidence clearly shows what happens when we empower families with young children to relocate to areas offering good jobs, quality schools, and safe neighborhoods: earnings grow, job vacancies are filled, poverty declines, and children more fully realize their God-given potential,” said Senator Young. “This bill draws on recent groundbreaking research to invest in housing mobility vouchers and customized relocation support services to improve life outcomes and strengthen Hoosier families, all while substantially reducing taxpayer expenditures on healthcare, public safety, and social services.”
This legislation is championed as a key policy solution by the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign, a national effort to engage multi-sector partners in pushing for stronger federal affordable housing policy. Prosperity Indiana was endorsed this year as the Indiana state partner to lead this effort. To find out more, click here: https://www.prosperityindiana.org/OSAH.
For a link to Senator Young’s press release, click here: https://www.young.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/young-and-van-hollen-introduce-bipartisan-bill-to-increase-mobility-keep-families-together-and-move-children-to-areas-of-opportunity