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August 16, 2019

MassLive: Should paying your rent on time count on your credit score? Rep. Ayanna Pressley proposes housing solutions at Cambridge forum

“My mother was always robbing peter to pay Paul,” said Pressley. “My mom came home to eviction notices often. She was working many jobs to make ends meet.”

Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley described the lack of affordable housing as a crisis and the number one issue in her district at a workshop Thursday night on housing held at The Link in Cambridge. But it’s not just an issue for millennials but everyone who wants to get on the property ladder.

“I’m 45, and my husband and I just purchased our first house,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley. “Because we wanted to change the legacy of our families.”

The situation for millennials isn’t good, with a report in the New York Times citing people having multiple jobs to cover the costs of bills and rent. Entering the housing market isn’t affordable with salaries not meeting the costs of living particularly in larger cities.

“This is the first generation that doesn’t own homes,” said Pressley. “Sixty percent of the people in [my] district are renters. They’re paying more than 30% of their income.”

In a report by the Pew Research Center, the total number of renters grew significantly between 2006 to 2016, going from 34.6 million to 43.3 million households.

In the same study, renting millennials made up 65% of the 43.3 million.

“The average student is saddled with $30,000 worth of debt,” said Pressley. Rising student debt and increasing house prices, renting has become an economic necessity.

Rent recording is an idea Pressley stated that she is ruminating on, which basically means that if you pay your rent on time, it’ll count towards your credit score.

Pressley is a member of the Committee on Financial Services, one issue she is charged with is looking at affordable housing.

“One issue on the docket, was the End Homelessness Act where witnesses would come to testify.”

“Housing is a human right,” said Pressley. “One of the things that was so soberly confirmed [to me] was the difference this legislation could make and the need to prioritize housing for all.”

“For the price of one U.S. military aircraft carrier,” said Pressley. “We could end homelessness.”

“There are so many challenges domestically that we are faced with that we could resolve if we just reduced our military budget by even 25%.”

This year the national security budget is $716 billion. A quarter of that would be $179 billion.

The Link is a non-profit space in Cambridge that provides training and event spaces and is partnered with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority and Boston Properties.