Majority Policy Committee examines affordable housing crisis

High prices for construction, rent displace people

HARRISBURG, March 28 – Testifiers at a House Majority Policy Committee hearing on Tuesday detailed the growing and widespread housing crisis having a negative effect on the people of Pennsylvania and its economy.

“There is not a corner of our commonwealth or a corner of our nation not affected by a lack of affordable housing,” said hearing host Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, who represents portions of Lancaster. “While our caucus continues to lead the way on issues, including education and employment, all of that work will be undermined if we cannot address the affordable housing crisis and ensure our families will be able to a find a place to lay their head every night.”

A report for 2022 noted the United States no longer has a housing crisis along the coasts, but it has deepened and is more widespread because communities are not producing enough housing options to meet housing needs.

“Rising prices for rent and construction costs continue to displace people,” said Rep. Danilo Burgos, who is the Policy Subcommittee chairman of Progressive Policies for Working People. “But this hearing helped illustrate that the housing crisis also has a negative impact on equity and environmental issues – forcing workers to commute great distances since acquiring housing near available jobs is not always possible.” 

Tuesday’s House Majority Policy hearing featured testimony from Michaela Allwine and Jocelynn Ritchey from Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Holly Beck from the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, and Lisette Rivera and Stephanie Thomas from Families in Transition.

The committee addressed the fact there is a narrative problem in the housing crisis, since people who are not poor also struggle to find affordable housing. Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler, Rick Krajewski and Smith-Wade-El are introducing a bill to seal eviction procedures if the tenant did not breach the lease.

Information about this hearing and other House Majority Policy Committee hearings can be found at Photos to be used for publication can be found at