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Rep. Gallego introduces bill to set aside another $2 billion for affordable housing

A bill introduced in the U.S. House this week would set aside an additional $2 billion to address affordable housing in Phoenix and other fast-growing metro areas around the country.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development runs the Housing Choice Voucher program, which helps make housing affordable across the country. 

Congressman Ruben Gallego says HUD’s program has not kept up with some fast growing cities, like Phoenix, and he has  introduced a bill that would “correct this historic shortfall.”

“So we are going to essentially try to update the law, the formulas, to make sure we’re able to bring thousands of more housing opportunities to Arizona," Gallego said.

He says federal housing laws disproportionately benefit East Coast cities. Phoenix, the fifth largest city, currently receives just over 7,400 vouchers, yet Philadelphia, the nation’s sixth largest city, receives three times as many.

“Housing suppliers will see there’s a market out there, and they’ll start building enough to meet the demand. Right now we have people that are on waitlists to receive these vouchers and we have a lot of suppliers of housing that just don’t want to provide it because they don’t see a market," Gallego said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to correct that Rep. Ruben Gallego introduced the bill. 

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.