President Biden signed the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” into law on August 16. The reconciliation package is a significantly scaled-down version of the “Build Back Better Act,” which would have provided $150 billion in funding for targeted affordable housing investments. The Inflation Reduction Act does not include resources to address the nation’s limited housing supply, skyrocketing rents, or the needs of an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness.
In a message regarding the bill, NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel thanked NLIHC’s members, partners, and allies for their “indefatigable advocacy” over the last 17 months. “Ultimately, our collective advocacy helped ensure that Build Back Better passed through the House with $150 billion in funding for housing – an amount that would have been the largest single federal investment in safe, stable, affordable homes for the lowest-income people in our country’s history,” wrote Diane. “As a movement and as a country, we have never been so close to bringing about the kind of transformative investment that is necessary for achieving housing justice. And our collective advocacy is what made it possible.” (Read Diane’s full statement here.)
After passing the House, the “Build Back Better Act” ultimately stalled in the Senate when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) objected to the price tag of the bill (see Memo, 12/20/21). However, as Diane notes in her statement, due to the efforts of advocates, “we are that much closer to the finish line the next time we create a window of opportunity. Together, we moved the Democratic Party’s stance on affordable housing to one that is much more ambitious, more willing to call for and fund solutions on the scale necessary, and more focused on solutions that are deeply targeted to the lowest-income people. For the first time ever, we have a president and HUD secretary who frame housing as a human right and who have committed to achieving universal housing vouchers and ending homelessness. And we have built Republican support for many of our solutions.”
While NLIHC and our members, partners, and allies will continue pushing Congress to enact essential long-term solutions to the nation’s affordable housing crisis, in the absence of Congressional action we are calling on the Biden administration to protect renters with the lowest incomes from rent hikes and to ensure the safety and well-being of people experiencing homelessness.
With the reconciliation package signed, Congressional lawmakers will focus their attention once they return from the August recess on enacting a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government funded after the current fiscal year (FY) ends on September 30. A CR maintains the current level of funding for federal programs and buys congressional appropriators more time to reach a bipartisan agreement on an FY2023 spending package.
Enacting a new FY2023 spending package with increased funding for HUD’s affordable housing and homelessness programs is necessary to maintain the number of people served by these vital programs. NLIHC and our partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) are leading our annual 302(b) letter to demand that Congress provide the highest possible level of funding for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY2023. Advocates should contact their members of Congress and urge them to support significant funding for NLIHC’s top priorities:
- $32.13 billion for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program to renew all existing contracts and expand housing vouchers to an additional 200,000 households.
- $5.125 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund to preserve public housing, and $5.06 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund.
- $3.6 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
- $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
$300 million for the competitive tribal housing program, targeted to tribes with the greatest needs.