The White House released today a comprehensive plan for combatting one of the major causes of inflation: the rising cost of rent and the severe shortage of homes affordable and available to America’s lowest-income and most marginalized households. The “Housing Supply Action Plan” includes a series of measures designed to increase the supply of housing over the next five years, including (1) using federal transportation funds to incentivize jurisdictions to reduce restrictive local zoning laws; (2) supporting manufactured housing, accessory dwelling units, and small-scale developments; and (3) streamlining federal financing and funding sources to help lower costs and speed development. Read the White House press release announcing the new plan here and a statement released by NLIHC in response to the plan here.
The U.S. has a national shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to renters with extremely low incomes – those with incomes below the federal poverty limit, or 30% or less of area median income. Fewer than four affordable and available rental homes exist for every 10 extremely low-income renter households, and not a single state has enough affordable homes to meet demand. For nearly 8 million households with extremely low incomes, housing consumes at least half of their limited monthly budget. Affordable homes were out of reach for these households before the pandemic and are even more inaccessible now, as rents have climbed by 11.3% nationally and as much as 39% in some cities. As a result, many of the lowest-income people are just one financial shock away from falling behind on their rent, being evicted, and, in the worst cases, facing homelessness.
In a press statement released this morning, NLIHC praised the new plan while urging further congressional action. “As rents rise, homelessness increases, public housing deteriorates, and millions of families struggle to keep roofs over their heads, robust federal investments and actions are badly needed and long overdue,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “I commend President Biden for taking significant and decisive action, but the administration cannot solve the crisis on its own. Congress must also act with similar urgency and quickly enact Build Back Better’s transformative and badly needed housing investments. Only through a combination of administrative action and robust federal funding can the country truly resolve its affordable housing crisis.”
NLIHC calls on Congress to enact a budget reconciliation bill with the targeted housing investments included in the “Build Back Better Act” passed last year by the U.S. House of Representatives: $25 billion to expand rental assistance to an estimated 300,000 households, protecting these households from the harmful impacts of inflation and preventing housing instability and homelessness; $65 billion to preserve public housing for its 2.5 million residents and future generations; and $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build or preserve more than 150,000 units of affordable, available, and accessible homes for people with the lowest incomes.
Read the press release announcing the “Housing Supply Action Plan” here.
Read NLIHC’s statement on the new plan here.