Congressional Hearing Focuses on Housing, Rental Crisis

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – When the first of the month comes around, that usually means rent is due. According to analysts, rental prices have skyrocketed since last year which have impacted people across the U.S. including right here at home.

“Nationwide, median asking rent increased by 17 percent in a single year but some cities saw rent increases double that,” said Matthew Desmond, a professor at Princeton University.

Analysts and congressional members can agree on one thing: the price of renting or owning a home or apartment has gone up in recent months. Some rent increases have forced many to put more than a third or half or even more than that of their income only on home costs.

“When the price of gas goes up we can adjust carpooling to work, when the price of food goes up we can adjust eating out less or when the cost of housing shoots up, what can families do,” asked Desmond. “They often are already living in the cheapest apartments available.”

According to the average rental price for a three bedroom in Erie, PA has gone up one-hundred dollars more compared to August last year. According to Zumper, one-bedroom rental prices have drastically fluctuated in Elmira, NY after the pandemic hit. Analysts said the economy, high mortgage rates and costs of other expenses could be factors as to why prices have gone up.

“Paychecks are not keeping up with rising prices after adjusting for inflation,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R- PA).

But congressional members have some different ideas on how to address this issue.

“We should scale back the role of government and increase the role of private capital,” said Toomey. “We should avoid the temptation to adopt new so-called ‘tenant protections’ or permanent rental assistance that will have negative unintended consequences, including increasing housing costs.”

“We have to expand the supply of safe affordable housing across the country for renters and homeowners at all income levels,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D- OH). “We have to maintain the affordable housing we currently have so we don’t fall even further behind on our housing supply and we have to help renters find an remain in homes they can afford with financial assistance including emergency assistance and support bipartisan eviction prevention efforts.”


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