Washington D.C. – A diverse group of housing industry representatives and housing advocacy organizations have written to President Biden expressing their concerns about the implementation of the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The group has urged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to clarify that affordable housing development and repair, including affordable homeownership repair and development programs and HUD-assisted and USDA-assisted multifamily housing, should be exempt from the requirements of the BABA Act.
“As currently written, the proposed guidance would increase the cost of building affordable housing, reducing the number of units that can be developed using existing federal funding,” said David M. Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference. “OMB must ensure that the important work of the Biden administration addressing the nation’s housing affordability crisis is not undercut.”
The severe shortage of affordable housing is a major headwind in efforts to control inflation and close the minority homeownership gap. Adding BABA requirements as a condition of funding for HUD’s programs will place an enormous administrative burden on builders and developers of affordable housing, restrict the supply of necessary construction materials, and further exacerbate the American housing affordability crisis.
The letter notes that many of the groups “have worked closely with your administration on expanding minority homeownership and rental housing opportunities, and on addressing the housing supply and affordability crisis. We have had highly productive meetings with a wide range of your cabinet officials and senior staff over the past 18 months to develop broad bipartisan approaches to address these issues. We hope that this work will not be undercut by policies meant to strengthen American production and employment, but could have the opposite impact.”
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About NHC: The National Housing Conference is a diverse continuum of affordable housing stakeholders that convene and collaborate through dialogue, advocacy, research, and education, to develop equitable solutions that serve our common interest – an America where everyone is able to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. Politically diverse and nonpartisan, NHC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.