A new study finds that workers attracted to jobs created by bipartisan infrastructure legislation would struggle to afford housing across much of the country.
The National Housing Conference (NHC) today released its Paycheck to Paycheck Fall 2021 Quarterly Update profiling 15 infrastructure-related occupations that would be in demand if the proposed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is passed. NHC found that homeownership already is unaffordable in a majority of metropolitan areas for all but one of the occupations it profiled. The study also found that many infrastructure workers would struggle even to afford to rent housing across much of the country.
NHC’s chief executive urged Congress retain housing provisions threatened by talks to trim the size of the reconciliation bill currently under consideration. If the measures are eliminated, he predicted construction projects authorized by the infrastructure package would stall, because contractors would find it hard to recruit qualified workers in the areas where they are needed most.
“Our report drives home the importance of including housing provisions in the reconciliation package currently under negotiation in Congress,” says NHC President and CEO David M. Dworkin. “Lawmakers should make it their top priority to ensure that infrastructure workers have access to affordable rental housing and homeownership.”
According to the study, homeownership access for infrastructure workers could be significantly expanded by a proposed federal down payment assistance program designed to provide up to $20,000 in down payment assistance to first-generation homebuyers. The program would increase the share of metropolitan markets where homeownership would be affordable for each occupation by 7 percent on average.
“The case for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has always been that it will fuel the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure and create new, good paying jobs,” said Dworkin. “But if the workers in those jobs cannot afford housing in the places they are needed the most, it will be difficult to attract new workers to those positions and complete the vitally important projects this bill funds.”
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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.