President Biden believes that everyone deserves to live in a safe and affordable home. Whether you rent or own, having a place to live that you can afford in a neighborhood with opportunities is the foundation for so much else in life.
It’s also the foundation for so much else in our economy. A lack of quality affordable housing hinders the job market and holds back economic growth by making it harder for workers to access good-paying jobs. It drives up costs for families and inflationary pressures. It also increases commutes and inefficient energy consumption, which exacerbates climate change. And a lack of affordable housing opportunities perpetuates the ongoing segregation and discrimination that our nation committed to eradicate nearly 60 years ago.
That’s why the President’s Budget includes a historic investment to lower housing costs, expand housing supply, improve access to affordable rental options and homeownership, and advance efforts to end homelessness. The Budget includes both mandatory and discretionary housing investments, totaling more than $175 billion. The Budget:
- Invests in building and preserving millions of affordable homes for rent and ownership, and reducing barriers to housing production – from restrictive land use policies to practices that foster discrimination and disparate treatment in the housing market.
- Makes a long-term commitment to housing accessibility and affordability for youth aging out of foster care and veterans. This support – targeted to extremely low-income populations that are vulnerable to homelessness – is a historic down payment on the President’s goal of providing universal housing vouchers for low-income households.
- Invests in first-time, first-generation homebuyers who have been locked out of the generational wealth building that can be associated with homeownership by providing down payment assistance.
- Provides funding to build on the Biden Administration’s unprecedented eviction prevention, diversion, and rent relief programs, advance efforts to end homelessness, and make progress towards President Biden’s goal of reducing homelessness by 25% by 2025.
Together, the Budget proposes investments and actions that will lower costs for renters and homebuyers, make our economy stronger and more resilient, and advance equity, economic opportunity, and fair housing principles that are central to the President’s economic agenda.
Building and Preserving Affordable Housing
America faces a longstanding and nationwide shortfall in affordable housing that has been growing for decades. In May 2022, the Administration released a Housing Supply Action Plan that included administrative and legislative actions to close the housing supply shortfall in 5 years. The Administration has already delivered on many of those commitments, and will continue to build on the historic number of multifamily units under construction through additional administrative actions that: make it easier to build and preserve affordable, multifamily supply; advance the production and preservation of homes like accessory dwelling units and manufactured housing; and incentivize state and local governments to reduce barriers to affordable housing development. The President’s Budget builds on that progress and calls on Congress to:
- Create A New Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit. The Budget proposes a new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit, which would be the first tax provision to directly support building or renovating affordable homes for homeownership. At a cost of $16 billion over ten years, the credit would cover the gap between the cost of construction and the sale price for rehabilitated or newly constructed single-family homes in low-income communities, encouraging investment in homes that would otherwise be too costly or difficult to develop or rehabilitate – and spurring investment and economic activity in communities that have long suffered from disinvestment. The tax credit would be provided on the condition that the home is occupied by low- or middle-income homeowners.
- Expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). LIHTC is the largest Federal incentive for affordable housing construction and rehabilitation. The Budget invests $28 billion in expanding this tax credit in order to boost the supply of housing that is affordable for low-income renters. Specifically, the Budget permanently increases the allocation of tax credit states receive. It also reduces the private activity bond financing requirement from 50 percent to 25 percent in order to leverage more private capital into LIHTC deals and build more units of affordable housing. And it repeals the qualified contract provision and right of first refusal provision – both of which allowed some owners of LIHTC units to exit requirements to keep rents at affordable levels.
- Provide New Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) for ELI households. Eleven million of the 44 million renter households in the U.S. have extremely low incomes (ELI)—incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of the area median income. Producing and preserving housing that is affordable for those households – and ensuring rents remain affordable for those households – is a critical component of tackling the Nation’s housing challenges that often requires additional subsidy. The Budget includes $7.5 billion in funding for new Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) contracts, which are long-term contracts with private for-profit or non-profit owners to rent new affordable housing units. These new contracts, in combination with other low-income housing programs and incentives, will attract development capital for the creation of new affordable homes for America’s neediest families.
- Reduce Barriers to the Development of Affordable Housing. The Budget includes $10 billion for planning and housing capital grants to incentivize State and local jurisdictions to expand supply and increase housing choice by reducing barriers to the development of affordable housing. The grants will help jurisdictions identify and remove barriers to affordable housing in their communities, such as restrictive zoning and burdensome permitting processes. These grants build on discretionary investments in the Budget, including $85 million for a competitive program to reward State, local, and regional jurisdictions that make progress in removing barriers to affordable housing development and $90 million to support State and local fair housing enforcement organizations and to further education, outreach, and training on rights and responsibilities under Federal fair housing laws. HUD also promotes fair housing with recent Administration actions like the proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
- Preserve Public Housing through Rehabilitation and Redevelopment. Over 1.7 million Americans live in Public Housing, and over half of households are led by seniors or people living with disabilities. The Budget includes a one-time $7.5 billion investment in funding on the mandatory side of the budget to address the capital needs of the most distressed public housing properties nationwide. Ensuring communities have the funds they need for Public Housing rehabilitation and modernization is critical to providing safe and sustainable living conditions for all – and to ensuring housing shortages aren’t exacerbated. In addition to this one-time investment, the Budget centralizes inspection-related funding for HUD-assisted multifamily properties and Public Housing, which would enhance HUD’s ability to address financial and physical risks and would complement HUD’s cutting-edge National Standards for Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) inspection standards. The Budget also provides $3.2 billion for Public Housing modernization and $300 million to improve the physical condition, energy efficiency, and climate resilience of the Public Housing stock. In addition, across its programs, HUD is investing in and coordinating efforts to allow for simultaneous implementation of climate resilience, carbon reduction, and mitigation and adaptation actions at the project, community and regional levels. The budget includes $752 million for targeted investments in these efforts for public and assisted housing.
- Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing Financed by Existing HUD programs. The Budget provides $1.8 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), an increase of $300 million over the 2023 enacted level, to construct and rehabilitate affordable rental housing and provide homeownership opportunities. In 2022 the program helped create over 15,000 units of housing and nearly 17,000 households were assisted with tenant based rental assistance through the HOME program. In addition, the Budget provides $258 million to support 2,200 units of new permanently affordable housing specifically for the elderly and persons with disabilities, supporting the Administration’s priority to maximize independent living for people with disabilities.And the Budget provides over $1 billion to fund tribal efforts to expand affordable housing, improve housing conditions and infrastructure, and increase economic opportunities for low-income families. Of this total, $150 million would prioritize activities that advance resilience and energy efficiency in housing-related projects. The Budget also recognizes the importance of advancing modern building and energy codes in existing housing and new construction; ensuring housing is designed, built, and operated to be high performing and adapted to climate risks and natural hazards. This builds on the Administration’s efforts to secure in the Inflation Reduction Act $1 billion to create a national green-and-resilient-retrofit-program.
- Reduce Housing Insecurity in Rural Communities. Affordable housing has been a long-standing problem for low-income residents in rural communities, one that is exacerbated by low energy efficiency of the aging housing stock which means higher costs to families. The Budget increases funding by 283 million above the 2023 enacted level for USDA’s multifamily housing programs. This initiative would allow the Administration to reduce rent burdens for low-income borrowers while also increasing the resiliency of rural housing to the impacts of climate change through a proposal to require energy and water efficiency improvements and green features in housing construction.
Promoting Rental Affordability and Fairness, and Making Progress Toward Universal Housing Vouchers for Extremely Low-Income Households
While around 2.3 million low-income households receive rental assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, another roughly 10 million are eligible and do not receive assistance due to funding limitations and wait lists. The Administration has secured rental assistance for an additional 100,000 households through the American Rescue Plan and the 2022 and 2023 appropriations bills. And in January, the Administration announced a Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights, which enumerated principles to shape federal, state, and local action, and announced agency commitments to strengthen tenant protections and encourage rental affordability.
But there is more work to do. For the first time in history, the Budget includes a voucher guarantee for two population groups that are acutely vulnerable to homelessness: youth aging out of foster care and extremely low-income veterans. Between discretionary funding, program reserves, and these mandatory proposals, these vouchers would serve well over an additional 200,000 households. The President’s Budget calls on Congress to:
- Expand the HCV Program and Enhance Household Mobility. The Budget provides $32.7 billion, an increase of $2.4 billion (including emergency funding) over the 2023 enacted level, to maintain services for all currently assisted families and to expand assistance to an additional 50,000 households. In addition, the Budget anticipates funding from the HCV program reserves will expand assistance to another 130,000 households. The Budget also provides $25 million for mobility-related supportive services to provide low-income families with greater options to advance true housing choice.
- Create a Housing Voucher Guarantee for Extremely Low-Income Veterans. The President believes that no one should be forced to live on the street, especially not those who have served our Nation. But an estimated 450,000 veteran renter households with extremely low incomes currently receive no rental assistance and have what HUD terms “worst-case housing needs.” Over a ten-year period and at a cost of $13 billion, the Budget expands rental assistance to extremely low-income (ELI) veteran families, starting with an allocation of 50,000 targeted vouchers in 2025 and paving a path to guaranteed assistance by 2033 for all who have served the Nation and are in need.
- Create a Housing Voucher Guarantee for Youth Aging out of Foster Care. Approximately 20,000 youth exit foster care annually, typically between the ages of 18 and 21, and these young people face greater obstacles to accessing and maintaining housing and as a result experience higher rates of homelessness and housing instability compared to the general population. To ensure these young people are stably housed and better able to focus on advancing their education or building a career during this difficult transition, the Budget establishes a housing voucher program for all youth aging out of foster care annually.
Making Homeownership a Reality for More First-Time and First-Generation Homebuyers
Achieving and maintaining homeownership is the primary way that American families build wealth and create economic security. That’s why the Administration implemented a series of measures that protected homeowners from foreclosure during the pandemic, including enhanced loan modifications to resolve delinquencies. In addition, the American Rescue Plan’s Homeowner Assistance Fund is helping struggling homeowners catch up on their mortgage payments and utility costs. These actions have helped keep foreclosures below pre-pandemic levels.
It’s also why just last month – as reflected in the President’s Budget – HUD, through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), lowered its annual mortgage insurance premium. This step is projected to save homebuyers and homeowners with new FHA-insured mortgages an average of $800 per year, lowering housing costs for an estimated 850,000 homebuyers and homeowners in the first year. And it builds on steps the Administration has already taken, including changing FHA underwriting policies to allow lenders to use positive rental history in evaluating applicants’ creditworthiness for an FHA-insured mortgage, changing the way in which student loan debt is evaluated in FHA mortgage underwriting, and announcing more than 20 concrete agency actions to root out racial and ethnic bias in home valuations. In addition, the Budget reflects a reduction in mortgage insurance fees for Native American borrowers in the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program, which will save borrowers over $500 on average in their first year.
But there is more work to do to make the dream of homeownership attainable for more Americans, particularly first-time and first-generation homebuyers who have been locked out of the generational wealth building that can come from homeownership. That’s why the Budget calls on Congress to:
- Launch a First-Generation Down Payment Assistance Program. The Budget provides $10 billion for a program to target down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers whose parents do not own a home and are at or below 120% of the area median income or 140% of the area median income in high-cost areas. Eligible activities would include costs in connection with acquisition such as down payment costs, closing costs, and costs to reduce the rates of interest on eligible mortgage payments. Analysis estimates these program parameters would mean that more than 35% of potential program participants would be African-American and more than 25% would be Latino – helping to address the stubborn racial homeownership gap that remains at pre-Fair Housing Act levels.
- Increase HUD Funding for Homeownership. The Budget also includes $100 million for a down payment assistance pilot to expand homeownership opportunities for first-generation and/or low wealth first-time homebuyers and $15 million to increase the availability of FHA small balance mortgages.
- Promote Homeownership in Rural America. Single-Family Housing Direct loans from USDA help low-income borrowers in rural areas realize the dream of homeownership. That said, the current program requires borrowers to repay subsidy costs, a requirement unique to rural housing. The Budget proposes eliminating this penalty, making the program consisted with other USDA subsidized interest rate programs, and promoting equity for low-income rural residents.
Advancing Efforts to Prevent Evictions and End Homelessness
During the pandemic, the Administration stood up a first-of-its-kind national eviction prevention infrastructure, which helped 8 million renter households at risk of eviction and kept evictions below pre-pandemic levels. During one of the greatest periods of economic uncertainty our Nation’s history, we did not see a spike in homelessness.
In addition, at the end of last year, President Biden set the bold goal of reducing homelessness by 25% by 2025 with the release of All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. The Administration’s roadmap is not only about getting people into housing but also ensuring that they have access to the support, services, and income that allow them to thrive. The plan focuses attention on homelessness prevention and actions to ensure an adequate and diverse stock of affordable housing, renter protections, and social service supports. The plan also seeks to promote and expand eviction-prevention reforms, including those advocated as part of the Biden Administration’s implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance program. The Budget seeks to continue the policies that are most effective in preventing avoidable evictions and give hard pressed American families more opportunities to stay in their homes, even during hard times. The President’s Budget calls on Congress to:
- Support, Solidify, and Encourage State and Local Reforms to Avoid Evictions. The Administration stood up a historic national eviction prevention infrastructure during the pandemic, helping keep eviction filings 20% below historical averages, even well after the eviction moratorium ended. The Budget provides $3 billion to build on these efforts, with a focus on upstream prevention and eviction diversion, improving renters’ access to resources, and making the legal process for renters fairer. This funding can be used to develop or implement policy reforms and program improvements such as providing emergency rental assistance or other forms and new models of rent relief, and expanding access to legal counsel, housing counselors, and court navigators.
- Bolster efforts to prevent and end homelessness. To prevent and reduce homelessness, the Budget provides $3.7 billion, an increase of $116 million over the 2023 enacted level, for Homeless Assistance Grants to meet renewal needs and expand assistance to approximately 25,000 additional households, including survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking and homeless youth. These targeted resources would support the Administration’s recently released Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. The Budget also provides $505 million for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, serving a population with a disproportionately high rate of homelessness and providing a critical link to services.
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