That communities in North Dakota need a strong social safety net is well illustrated by the recent article in the Herald (April 17) about evacuating the Ambassador Motel. The city has declared it unsafe to occupy, so residents must find somewhere else to go. According to the article, one of these residents is only 2 years old.
Thankfully, we have local support, such as the Northlands Rescue Mission, Homeless Helpers, Spectra Health and the Grand Forks Housing Authority, to assist those in need of secure housing.
Congress passed COVID relief in March that will provide relief to renters, but we can't stop there. We must invest in a robust recovery and correct long-ignored inequities in our economy that were exacerbated by COVID-19. First, make housing assistance universal to all who qualify. No one should live under the constant threat of homelessness.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has released a report that explains the benefits of expanding Housing Choice Vouchers to all eligible households and how such assistance is a necessary complement to supply-side investments. The HCV program helps people with the lowest incomes to afford housing in the private market, by paying landlords the difference between what a household can afford to pay and the rent itself, up to a certain payment standard. Vouchers currently help more than 2 million low-income households afford decent, stable housing. Due to inadequate funding, however, only one in four households that are eligible for a voucher receive any form of federal rental assistance
Next, invest in workers and families by making the new Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit provisions permanent. Columbia University researchers estimate these housing and tax changes could reduce child poverty by almost two-thirds.
We can create an economy where workers are protected, families are housed, and children can reach their full potential. I urge our members of Congress, Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, and Rep. Kelly Armstrong, to take these bold actions to reduce child poverty and housing instability in economic recovery legislation.
Kathleen Ness, Grand Forks