The House Committee on Financial Services passed several bills, including the “Housing Is Infrastructure Act” (H.R. 5187) and the “Housing Fairness Act of 2020” (H.R. 149), during a vote on February 27. H.R. 5187 would invest more than $100 billion in affordable housing and community development programs; it passed the committee by a vote of 33-25. A group of 205 national, state, and local organizations sent a letter on February 25 urging Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to include investments in affordable housing as part of any infrastructure package. H.R. 149 would authorize additional funding for fair housing enforcement, make needed reforms to fair housing programs, and reinstate HUD’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule; the bill passed by a vote of 33-23. NLIHC supports both bills, which will now move to the full House for a vote.
The “Housing Is Infrastructure Act,” introduced by Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA), would authorize $100.6 billion to improve affordable housing infrastructure. The bill would provide a one-year investment of $5 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), $70 billion to address the public housing capital needs backlog, $1 billion to address severe housing needs on tribal lands, and $1 billion to fund the backlog of capital needs for USDA Section 515 and 514 rural housing stock, among other investments.
As NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel stated in testimony she gave before the House Financial Services Committee on April 30, 2019, an infrastructure package provides a unique opportunity to address one of the most critical issues facing extremely low-income families today – the lack of decent, accessible, and affordable housing. The aforementioned letter to Speaker Pelosi urged the inclusion of infrastructure funding particularly for public housing and the national HTF. Such investments would help build new affordable homes targeted to people with the lowest incomes through the HTF and preserve the homes of nearly 1 million households living in public housing.
The “Housing Fairness Act of 2020,” introduced by Representative Al Green (D-TX), would increase funding for HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), which supports nonprofit fair housing organizations’ education and enforcement activities. FHIP grantee organizations processed more than three fourths of all housing discrimination complaints in 2018. The bill would authorize a total of $735 million over 11 years for FHIP. By reinstating the 2015 AFFH rule, the bill would overturn the Trump administration’s actions suspending the rule in 2018 and issuing its own proposal in January of this year that completely undermines the goals of the Fair Housing Act (See Memo 1/13). The proposed AFFH rule is open for public comment through March 16; learn more and submit comments opposing the rule at: www.FightForHousingJustice.org
View the webcast of the committee vote at: https://bit.ly/383AaSR
NLIHC’s letter of support for H.R. 5187 is at: https://bit.ly/2vPc9Bt
Read the letter to Speaker Pelosi at: https://bit.ly/397uRTw
Learn more about H.R. 5187 at: https://bit.ly/2VusRkf
Learn more about H.R. 149 at: https://bit.ly/2wd10dO