The historic $150 billion investment in affordable housing included in the “Build Back Better Act” is at risk of elimination as Congress and the White House negotiate a slimmed down version of the bill. The bill currently includes funding for the HoUSed campaign’s top priorities: $25 billion to expand housing vouchers to an additional 300,000 low-income households; $65 billion to preserve public housing and improve living conditions for the nation’s more than 2 million public housing residents; and $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build, maintain, and operate an estimated 150,000 new units of deeply affordable, accessible housing. If enacted, these provisions would result in the largest single investment in quality, affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes in history.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted in November 2021 to approve the Build Back Better Act, but the bill stalled in the Senate after Senator Manchin announced in December 2021 that he would not support the package as it is currently written (see Memo, 12/20/21). To advance the bill, Congressional leaders are using a process called “budget reconciliation,” which allows Congress to enact legislation with a simple majority vote in the Senate, rather than the 60 votes typically required in the chamber. But to move forward, the bill must garner the support of every Democratic senator.
Congressional leaders will make significant changes to the legislation to win Senator Manchin’s support. However, any effort to reduce the size and scope of the economic recovery package puts affordable housing investments at risk of deep cuts or elimination, and a separate bill containing only the housing provisions will face an even steeper path to enactment.
The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make significant investments in the affordable housing programs directly targeted to households with the lowest incomes. Congress must seize this moment to quickly enact a recovery package that includes the bold affordable housing investments currently included in the bill. Do what you can to help:
- Your members of Congress need to hear from you about why investments in housing vouchers, public housing, and the Housing Trust Fund are critical to your community and why they must remain in any budget reconciliation package. Breaking housing investments off into a separate bill is unacceptable.
- Join more than 1,800 national state, and local organizations by signing on to the HoUSed campaign’s national letter in support of historic investments in housing vouchers, public housing, and the Housing Trust Fund in a reconciliation bill.
Thank you for your advocacy!