It is officially Back to School season and perhaps one of the most exciting times of the year for school children everywhere. I am thrilled to see many agencies and individuals supporting our children through generous donations of backpacks and supplies.
To further ensure success for our children all year, I am calling on these same agencies and individuals to advocate for more affordable and income-based housing in local communities. According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 7.5 million low-income renters are severely housing cost burdened- spending 30% or more of monthly income on rent. In short, rents are out of reach for many renters. This includes single income households, families with young children and professionals such as police officers and teachers. This also includes essential workers, who worked so valiantly throughout the pandemic, and who continue to provide valuable services to our communities. A “Thank You” and “Heroes Work Here” banners are great, but they do not pay the rent.
Indeed, Back to School is a cause for celebration, particularly following months of isolation and distant learning. However, children equipped with new backpacks, crisp sheets of lined notebook paper, and shiny new pencils are far less likely to succeed if they have no home to secure themselves or these items.
School supplies are terrific, but a stable home is even better!