Affordable housing is a crucial issue in the 13th District. With little space on which to build, the District has no ability to expand its available housing to meet the growing need for housing. The resulting effect is that the District’s historical population base is being pushed out in favor of The Bronx, Queens, and Eastern Brooklyn. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), the federal agency dealing with this phenomena, is poorly run, lacks sufficient transparency and oversight, and, in certain circumstances, is underfunded. HUD needs new leadership and better Congressional oversight. The funds that HUD already receives need to be better and more efficiently utilized. This won’t happen without careful planning, strategic and forward thinking, and monitoring mechanisms designed to ensure that HUD is used to benefit its intended beneficiaries, those in need of housing, and not real estate developers.
Homelessness is another issue that not only affects us locally, but nationally as well. More housing resources need to be allocated to serve those victimized by both short-term and chronic homelessness. Dedicating resources to protect those most in need, while ensuring a safe, clean, and attractive neighborhood, are essential to the 13th District and to other urban areas throughout the country affected by personal dislocation that leads to homelessness.