Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) Announces Bill to Connect Child Care with Affordable Housing at CLPHA's Housing Is Summit

Date Published: 
May 11th, 2023

At CLPHA's Housing Is Summit today, Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) announced legislation to help working families access affordable housing and child care.

Rep. Bonamici and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)'s Build Housing with Care Act would invest $500 million to construct child care centers in affordable housing buildings and cover the costs of retrofitting to help family child care providers operate in housing developments. Priority will be given to projects that are located in child care deserts or rural communities, including qualified Head Start providers and providers primarily serving low-income children.

“Investing in children is one of the best investments we can make,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Families in Oregon and across the country are struggling to afford child care and put a roof over their heads. We can help address both of these critical needs by investing in child care centers and home-based providers located in affordable housing to make it easier for families to find care where they live. I’ve seen how this model can work in Oregon, and I am pleased to be working with Senator Wyden to make it available to more communities across the country."

“Right now families in Oregon and across the country are juggling impossible situations,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “They want and need to work to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, but child care just isn’t affordable – and some communities don’t even have child care options nearby. Taking care of your family shouldn’t be this hard. I am all in with Congresswoman Bonamici to help close the child care gap and help more families access the care they need."

“The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) strongly endorses the Build Housing with Care Act that was introduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in the U.S. Senate,” said CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman. “Too often low-income families must choose between paying for rent or child care. Public housing authorities’ mission to provide housing stability is only the first step to improving life outcomes of low-income families —they also play a critical role in the early educational efforts of low-income children living in public housing.

“Congresswoman Bonamici’s Build Housing with Care Act incorporates the principles of CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative by aligning housing and early childhood education," added Zaterman. "The Build Housing with Care Act will unlock funding and resources previously unavailable to public housing authorities. With approximately one million children living in public housing, this bill can prevent thousands of families from having to make the impossible choice between paying for housing or child care.”

It is estimated that funding from the Build Housing with Care Act could build more than 120 new co-located child care centers, supporting the development of critical care supply in connection with affordable housing. A report from the Low Income Investment Fund, Including Family Child Care in Affordable Housing, highlights the many policy opportunities and benefits of co-location as “an opportunity to respond to severe housing and child care shortages simultaneously.”

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