Washington, D.C. – President Biden released today a comprehensive plan to address a central driver of inflation – the rising cost of rent and the severe shortage of homes affordable and available to America’s lowest-income and most marginalized households.
“As rents rise, homelessness increases, public housing deteriorates, and millions of families struggle to keep roofs over their heads, robust federal investments and actions are badly needed and long overdue,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “I commend President Biden for taking significant and decisive action, but the administration cannot solve the crisis on its own. Congress must also act with similar urgency and quickly enact Build Back Better’s transformative and badly needed housing investments. Only through a combination of administrative action and robust federal funding can the country truly resolve its affordable housing crisis.”
There is a national shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to renters with extremely low incomes, those with incomes below the federal poverty limit or 30% or less of area median incomes. Fewer than four affordable and available rental homes exist for every 10 extremely low-income renter households, and there is not a single state with enough affordable homes to meet demand. For nearly eight million households with extremely low incomes, housing consumes at least half of their limited monthly budget. Affordable homes were out of reach for these households even before the pandemic, and they are even more precariously housed now as rents climb by 11.3% nationally and as much as 39% in some cities. The lowest-income people are just one financial shock away from falling behind on their rent, facing eviction and, in worse cases, homelessness.
The plan released by the Biden administration includes important measures to increase the supply of housing. The administration’s commitment to using federal transportation funds to reduce restrictive local zoning laws, which can inhibit or prohibit the construction of apartments and are often deeply rooted in racial exclusion, is especially promising. By supporting manufactured housing, accessory dwelling units, and small-scale developments, the administration can increase affordable housing options in communities nationwide. Streamlining federal financing and funding sources can help lower costs and speed development.
We join President Biden in continuing to call on Congress to enact a budget reconciliation bill that includes the targeted housing investments passed in the House, including: $25 billion to expand rental assistance to an estimated 300,000 households, protecting these households from the harmful impacts of inflation and preventing housing instability and homelessness; $65 billion to preserve public housing for its 2.5 million residents and future generations; and $15 billion in the national Housing Trust Fund to build or preserve more than 150,000 units of affordable, available, and accessible homes for people with the lowest incomes.
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