This week NHC hosted our annual Solutions for Affordable Housing convening. The event, which has historically met in the stately rooms and bustling hallways of the National Press Club, looked quite different this year with nearly 300 housers joining in the now all too familiar rooms of Zoom. We look forward to being with you next year, when we can meet safely in person.
As we speak, House and Senate leaders are trying to reach agreement on a new $908 billion COVID relief package introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, aptly known as the Problem Solvers Caucus. The proposal, negotiated by the Problem Solvers Caucus, includes $180 billion in additional unemployment insurance, $160 billion in state and local funding, $25 billion for rental assistance and $12 billion for community lender support. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) made clear in his remarks to the conference that with so much on the line for Americans including expiring eviction moratoria and unemployment benefits, we have to work together and act now.
Economic assistance to address the recession caused by the pandemic isn’t our only pressing priority. Our panelists, which represented the entire housing spectrum – from homebuilders to lenders, government officials, advocacy organizations, homeless service providers, state housing finance agencies and more, echoed the sentiment of collaboration, shared mission and immediate action.
Other critical issues like closing the Black homeownership gap and the affordable housing supply crisis are also at the top of our agenda. We heard from leaders of our Black Homeownership Collaborative on efforts to create 3 million net new Black homeowners by 2030. We also examined efforts by the Federal Reserve Board to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act. We were joined by Joseph Firschein from the Federal Reserve, Truist’s Anthony Weekly and Buzz Roberts from the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders. The pressing need for more production of affordable housing was discussed by some of the most innovative thought housing leaders in America, including Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford, Tennessee Housing Development Agency Executive Director Ralph Perrey and Rebuilding Together CEO Caroline Blakely. The event offered real-world solutions to overcome affordable housing challenges.
It is my sincere hope that everyone who attended came away feeling as motivated and encouraged as I did. While there is no shortage of issues to address and obstacles to overcome, I believe we’re all up to the challenge. Finally, I want to thank all of our panelists and our generous sponsors: JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Facebook, Habitat for Humanity and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, for making our event possible. I look forward to working with all of you in what promises to be a very busy year ahead.