The House Ways and Means Committee’s Oversight Committee held a July 14 hearing on “Expanding Housing Access to All Americans.” The hearing addressed challenges in increasing the supply of housing and the solutions necessary to make housing is available to low-income and historically marginalized communities. Topics included: supply chain; subsidies and tax credits, including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit; the Housing Trust Fund; Opportunity Zones; and labor issues related to the housing shortage.
Witnesses included Staci Berger, president and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey and NLIHC board member; Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow; Gerald Howard, Jr., CEO of the National Association of Home Builders; Lilian Faulhaber, professor at law at Georgetown University; and John Persinger, CEO of Eerie Downtown Development Corporation.
Chairman Bill Pascrell’s (D-NJ) opening statement addressed the importance of hearing: “Today’s hearing focuses on another equally crucial component of economic opportunity and stability. And that is access to affordable, safe housing. Extensive research shows that homeownership is a gateway to the middle class. But, like higher education, housing has been out-of-reach for many. The pandemic only made things worse.” Representative Pascrell stated that Congress has previously attempted to incentivize homeownership with itemized deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes before these provisions were removed in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. Representative Pascrell also highlighted the Low-income Housing Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit as tools to encourage investment in multi-family housing.
In exchanges with the subcommittee, Staci Berger addressed the need for Congress to continue protecting families from eviction and ensuring that all families have equal access to affordable homes. This includes redressing federal housing practices from the past, including racial discrimination in the lending process and source-of-income discrimination that allows sellers and landlords to deny housing to families using federal assistance. In her testimony, Berger stated that any infrastructure bill that Congress creates should include the HoUSed campaign’s top priorities: a major expansion of Housing Choice Vouchers, investing $70 billion to preserve public housing, and providing $45 billion to build new homes and preserve existing affordable homes through the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF).
Watch the hearing and read witness testimonies at: https://bit.ly/3xIwALD