A diverse group of housing stakeholders gathered at the Capitol today to call for substantial investment in housing as part of the budget reconciliation package currently being negotiated in Congress. The group included representatives from the National Housing Conference (NHC), Habitat for Humanity, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). Housing leaders were joined by Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, who affirmed their support for including housing provisions in the bill.
“Housing is fundamental to an economy that works for all. Democrats and President Biden understand this,” said Chairman Brown. “Robust housing investments support families and kids, improve health outcomes, and address climate change – while creating good-paying jobs. That is why these investments must stay in the reconciliation package.”
“For decades we’ve neglected our crumbling housing infrastructure. This pandemic has exposed the toll that the housing crisis is taking on families and on the stability of the U.S. economy,” said Chairwoman Waters. “Millions of people each day are forced to choose between keeping a roof over their head, putting food on the table, seeking medical care, investing in their children’s education, or saving for retirement. If we are serious about supporting families, children, and workers, we must understand that we cannot tackle childcare, healthcare, climate change, or racial equity without addressing our nation’s affordable housing crisis. Now is the time to prioritize housing and make the robust investments needed to provide every family with a stable foundation and set our country on a better path for the future. This is why I am fighting tooth and nail to ensure that housing is at the forefront of the Build Back Better Act, as it should be.”
“The entire housing community, from industry to advocates, agree that substantial investments in housing are imperative to sustaining a healthy economy, addressing climate change, and securing racial equity,” said NHC President and CEO David M. Dworkin. Addressing the growing housing supply crisis and rapidly rising housing prices, Dworkin said that “Congress is on the verge of passing a historic infrastructure bill of over $1 trillion for the modernization of our physical and technological infrastructure. But who is going to build and repair this infrastructure? And where are they going to live? Substantial investments in housing supply are essential to ensuring that Americans can afford to live where they work.”
“Habitat works in communities all across this country — urban, suburban and rural — and we are speaking with one voice: Congress must deliver transformative housing investments in the Build Back Better Act,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan T.M. Reckford. “Housing investments are fundamental to health, economic mobility and racial equity, and must continue to be a core tenet of the nation’s plan to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and begin to address decades of disinvestment in safe, decent and affordable places to live.”
“MBA recognizes the difficult task that Congress and the administration face balancing the inherent tension between authorizing key programs and raising the revenue to pay for those priorities,” said MBA Chairman and Executive Vice President and Wells Fargo Head of Home Lending Kristy Fercho. “As Congress continues to debate potential solutions to increase the supply of critically-needed affordable housing stock, the real estate finance industry urges policymakers to preserve funding that would address crucial concerns such as minority homeownership and affordable rental housing, including: a first generation homebuyer assistance grant program, increased funding for housing counseling, improvements and enhancements to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, and the creation of a Neighborhood Homes Investment tax credit to promote new construction and substantial rehabilitation of housing in distressed census tracts.”
“Latinos and communities of color are driving demand for housing – however, the historic low levels of housing supply have left first time homebuyers engaged in bidding wars with upwards of 100 individuals. Greater investment in housing is needed now more than ever in order to unleash the homeownership growth potential inherent in our demographic vibrancy,” said NAHREP 2020-21 President Sara Rodriguez.
“NAR’s 1.5 million members serve consumers in every U.S. zip code to ensure a fair and equitable housing market,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. “Making sure everyone has a place to call home isn’t just the foundation of our economy. It’s the fabric of our communities, our families, and each of our lives. Today, lawmakers here in Washington have a tremendous opportunity to make lasting, meaningful changes that will increase access to safe and affordable housing throughout the U.S.”
“NAHB applauds Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Maxine Waters for their principled stand on the urgent need to include funding for housing in the Build Back Better Plan when some other leaders in Congress would contemplate jettisoning an opportunity for such a historic investment,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “Regulatory barriers, coupled with the current building material supply chain crisis, have priced thousands of hard-working American families out of housing at a time when housing demand is at an all-time high. An investment in housing will provide the best economic bang for the buck. Safe, decent and affordable rental housing provides the pathway to owning your own home and the American Dream of homeownership can be the gateway to the middle class.”
“By investing in housing programs in the Build Back Better Act, Congress has the opportunity to take real action to reverse racial inequities and work to close the homeownership and wealth gaps,” said NFHA Senior Vice President of Public Policy Nikitra Bailey. “Too many Black, Brown, and poor White families struggle with access to affordable housing. By funding housing programs, Congress can strengthen local economies, create thousands of jobs, and begin to reverse decades of discriminatory housing policies that hurt communities of color. The National Fair Housing Alliance and our partners urge lawmakers to include robust funding for housing programs in the Build Back Better Act.”
“Stable, accessible, affordable housing is the foundation upon which all other priorities in the Build Back Better Act – health, education, economic opportunity, racial justice – rest,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Congress and the White House must preserve housing investments deeply targeted towards those with the greatest needs. Such investments at the levels currently included in Build Back Better would end homelessness in the U.S. once and for all.”
“As nationwide providers of housing counseling services, the National Urban League and our network of affiliates are on the front lines of the affordable housing crisis,” said National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial. “Safe, stable, decent, and affordable housing is not only vital to the American economy, but a basic human right. An infrastructure reconciliation package that does not include housing would undermine the economic development principles at the heart of the Build Back Better agenda and insult the hard-working Americans struggling to shelter their families and build generational wealth.”
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About NHC: The National Housing Conference (NHC) has been defending the American Home since 1931. NHC 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.