Washington, D.C. — Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff secured commitments today from top Biden Administration nominees for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to visit Savannah and work with him to address the affordable housing crisis in Georgia.
Sen. Ossoff said it is vital that Congress respond to this crisis by making policy that increases the available supply of housing for homebuyers and renters.
Sen. Ossoff asked James Arthur Jemison and Mark Colon, nominees for Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to visit Columbus and work with him to solve the shortage of affordable housing options throughout coastal Georgia.
Jemison and Colon agreed, with Jemison noting that, “there needs to be significant investment to create affordable housing supply.”
Please find a transcript below:
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you to the panelists, congratulations on your nominations, thank you for your willingness to serve. Mr. Jemison, I’d like to engage with you on the question of affordable housing. We have an affordable housing crisis in Georgia. Just to illustrate that, there is a shortage of nearly 200,000 affordable housing units in our state. It is a crisis in all of our major metro areas and in rural areas, it is a crisis in Metro Atlanta, it is a crisis in Savannah, it is a crisis in Columbus, in Macon, and Athens. What I want to ask you, Mr. Jemison, is, do you agree that it is vital that we respond to this crisis by making policy that increases the available stock of housing for prospective homebuyers and renters? And what policies do you believe that Congress could implement or the executive alone could implement that will increase housing supply where a shortage of housing in Metro Atlanta, across the state of Georgia, is driving this crisis?”
JEMISON: “Senator, thank you for the chance to answer this question. I agree that there needs to be significant investment to create additional affordable housing supply. The role that housing authorities can play in this is very great, and there is current discussion, I mean I do know that the Build Back Better proposal includes what would be historic and once-in-a-generation investments in affordable housing. In particular, they would address the shortage of affordable housing in all of our communities. The public housing section’s role in this is to create affordable housing that serves the very lowest-income Americans, and also through vouchers serves a broad range of Americans. We can be part of the supply solution if we have the resources to do it. The resources proposed in the Build Back Better plan have the chance to really help us bring public housing into the 21st century and make it the kind of asset that we all know that it can be and it needs to be to answer the supply question that you’re asking.”
SEN OSSOFF: “Thank you, Mr. Jemison. Mr. Jemison, I’d like to secure a commitment from you and Mr. Colon that you will come to the State of Georgia, that you will visit, at minimum, the city of Atlanta and the city of Savannah and the city of Columbus to meet with local elected officials and leaders and my team to help chart a course, a strategy, for increasing the availability of affordable housing in our state working with Federal partners. Mr. Jemison, can you give me that commitment?”
JEMISON: “Senator, I would make that commitment today to come to Georgia and meet with you and local elected officials, hopefully housing authority leadership as well. Creating a strategy with numbers and measurables has been part of my work for 25 years and I would love to — along with community engagement — and I’d love to bring that personally to visit with you in Georgia.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you. Mr. Colon, will you head to Georgia, if confirmed, to help map out a strategy to make more affordable housing available to Georgians?”
COLON: “Thank you, Senator. If confirmed, I would be more than glad to come to Georgia and collaborate with my colleague Arthur to do as much as possible as we could to address the issues in the state of Georgia.”
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