Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) reintroduced the “American Housing and Economic Mobility Act” to help address the underlying causes of America’s housing crisis, primarily through robust investments in the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF). Original cosponsors include Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) along with Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jesus Garcia (D-IL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jan Shakowsky (D-IL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
The bill direct addresses the severe shortage of rental homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes by investing $445 billion over ten years in the HTF to build and preserve nearly 2 million deeply affordable homes. The bill also provides $25 billion over ten years in the Capital Magnet Fund, $500 million in rural housing programs, and more than $2.5 billion to build or rehabilitate homes for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians. By incentivizing local zoning reforms, the legislation would help lower costs and increase the supply of housing.
Beyond investments, the bill prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, and source of income. The bill also makes it easier to use housing vouchers in neighborhoods with good-performing schools and allows tribal housing authorities to administer their own voucher programs. By doubling the minimum requirement for accessible units built with funding provided in the bill, the legislation helps address the severe shortage of homes accessible to people with disabilities.
To help close the racial wealth gap, the bill provides down-payment assistance to first-time homebuyers living in formerly redlined or officially segregated areas, and it extends eligibility for home loans to descendants of veterans, largely Black individuals, who were denied this benefit after World War II.
NLIHC president and CEO Diane Yentel stated in Senator Warren’s press release, “"The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act would transform lives and communities by significantly expanding investments the national Housing Trust Fund to help millions of the lowest-income and most marginalized households who struggle to pay rent and the half a million people without a home at all. Congress should enact this bill as part of the American Jobs Plan to ensure that everyone has the breadth of opportunities that come from having a stable, affordable place to call home."
The “American Housing and Economic Mobility Act” is supported by Americans for Financial Reform, Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for Community Progress, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Faith in Action Network, Housing Choice Partners, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, MA Communities Action Network, Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing , National CAPACD, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Community Stabilization Trust, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), National Fair Housing Alliance, National Housing Law Project, National Housing Resource Center, NLIHC, National Urban League, National Women's Law Center, New Jersey Citizen Action, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Prosperity Now, UnidosUS, and Woodstock Institute. Last Congress, the National American Indian Housing Council passed a resolution in support of the bill.
Read Senator Warren’s press release at: https://tinyurl.com/5avx6ahm
Read the bill text at: https://tinyurl.com/k5hxs55u