Long Island, home to the country’s first suburb, birthed the “American Dream.” Owning a home is seen by many as the foundation of economic stability, and the means to grow a family, career, and happy life. For far too many Long Islanders, especially young, working-class people, this dream of homeownership is just that – a dream. Property taxes and rents have skyrocketed, wages haven’t kept pace with inflation, and the ability to save for a down payment continues to be out of reach for too many. Too often, both young adults and the newly retired feel forced to leave Long Island because they fear they cannot afford the high cost of living here., If Congress, in partnership with state and local governments, does nothing to ensure access to affordable housing for every Long Islander, their fears will continue to be a reality.
I am in favor of expanding federal programs that assist first-time home buyers with their home purchase by allowing those with steady, full-time employment access to mortgages with low down payments and low-interest rates. We must also seek ways to expand the quality and availability of low-income housing developments so even more people can save to own their own home. To this end, stricter enforcement of federal laws regarding predatory lending and mortgage practices is also required.
If we hope to make the American Dream available on Long Island to all those who seek it, we need representation in Congress by someone who understands that the struggle is real.