Menendez calls for affordable housing and flood insurance protections during Banking Committee hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, in Thursday’s hearing “The State of Housing 2023,” questioned witnesses on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its long-term impact on homeowners.
“If FEMA itself recognizes that it’s going to lose one million policyholders, and insurance is about spreading risk across the widest base possible, one million policyholders means the rates go up for everybody else,” Menendez said. “And then we have natural disasters in our states across the country, and the federal government comes and helps instead of having an insurance program that can mitigate as well as cover the cost. That’s why Sens. Cassidy, Kennedy, and I have introduced bipartisan legislation that will reauthorize the NFIP, keep premiums affordable, and invest in cost saving mitigation measures to put the program on a firm financial footing.”
Menendez also questioned witnesses on the importance of leveraging the investments of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that was passed last Congress to help connect existing affordable housing to good jobs and build more affordable housing near public transit that will help provide more working families with access to high-paying job and career opportunities.
Finally, he questioned witnesses on the challenge of providing adequate housing for the growing senior population. “According to the Urban Institute, of the 16.1 million new household formations over the next 20 years, more than 80% of them will be senior households,” Menendez said. “Now it seems too that this increase in senior households is going to put a huge demand on senior public and assisted housing capacity and needs for the next Congress to consider.
In August 2021, Menendez introduced the Livable Communities Act that encourages local communities to partner strategically to develop bold, innovative solutions that reflect their unique character, while leveraging existing assets, including access to transit to help revitalize neighborhoods, spur economic development, create jobs, and address their affordable housing needs. In 2021, the Senator also secured $100 million to expand access to housing counseling and assistance services for millions of renters and homeowners struggling to remain in their homes amid the economic crisis created by the pandemic.