NETWORK believes that access to affordable, safe housing is an essential human right.
A place to call home is integral to the secure development of family and other relationships. As Catholic Bishops remind us, “Churches, community groups, the private sector, and state and local government must all do more to meet our common responsibility for housing. However, there is no substitute for an involved, competent, and committed federal government.” (USCCB. Homelessness and Housing, 1988)
Thirty-eight million rental units make up approximately one-third of the households in the U.S. The federal government estimates that housing costs should take up no more than 30% of the household budget. Yet, available and affordable rental units are out of reach for most low-income households. For those at the extremely low-income level, lack of affordable housing often leads to homelessness.
Homelessness has been on the rise over the last two decades, particularly among families with children. An Urban Institute study in 2000 estimated that 3.5 million persons were homeless at some time during the year, and that 39% of them were children. In 2008, the U.S. Conference of Mayors reported that among 25 cities with populations over 100,000, 12 reported an increase in homelessness due to foreclosures.
Rental properties comprised almost 40% of recent foreclosures and renters found themselves in precarious positions. Assistance was provided to keep some rental units operating, which limited the number of households becoming homeless but low-income households continue to struggle. There are not sufficient housing stock or housing vouchers. Shelters are above capacity and thousands are living on the streets, bunking with friends and family, or living in their cars.
NETWORK supports programs to support secure and affordable homes for all, particularly those with the least economic power. We support efforts to “green” housing  units both as a means of providing healthy housing and to preserve a healthy ecosystem in which all of us live. We also work on the National Housing Trust Fund  and Housing Choice Vouchers .