President Commits to Housing in Infrastructure Package

Legislation | July 09, 2021 | by Linda Couch

In a July 7 speech, President Biden committed to including affordable housing investments in the infrastructure package enacted via reconciliation.We need to deal with the shortage of affordable housing in America.

In a July 7 speech, President Biden committed to including affordable housing investments in the infrastructure package enacted via reconciliation.We need to deal with the shortage of affordable housing in America. Over 10 million renters in this country pay more than half their income for the rent on their apartment, and the lack of affordable housing prevents people from moving to communities where there are more opportunities,” President Biden said. “So we’re going to make historic investment in affordable housing, increasing and improving the housing supply by building and rehabilitating more than 2 million homes, especially in places that need more housing.

On July 8, House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Water (D-CA) announced she had spoken to President Biden directly about including affordable housing in the reconciliation package and secured his commitment to doing so. “I spoke directly with President Biden on the need to include housing in reconciliation. The President assured me that housing would be included in reconciliation,” Chairwoman Waters said.

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal includes $2 billion for new Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Homes and $2 billion for new homes with Project-Based Rental Assistance.

Chairwoman Waters has been a steadfast proponent of affordable housing and has taken the lead in the House to push significant, new federal investments into expanding the supply. Chairwoman Waters included $2.5 billion for new Section 202 housing in her draft housing infrastructure bill, and spoke at LeadingAge’s inaugural Save HUD 202 rally to revive the long-neglected program. Since then, the Section 202 program has received funds for new Section 202 homes every fiscal year.

“To be clear, as housing costs skyrocket, communities across the country — including rural, suburban, and urban America — need affordable housing now more than ever. To say that the pandemic destabilized an already unstable housing market is an understatement. Our nation’s chronic shortage of affordable housing has left millions of people at all income levels struggling to pay their housing costs, and in the worst cases, has locked people out of homeownership, led to people being evicted or foreclosed on, and exacerbated our homelessness crisis,” Chairwoman Waters said.

“I thank the President for listening to me and affirming the importance of housing to this country. Including housing in reconciliation has become a top priority for housing and nonprofit organizations that are speaking out on the need to develop affordable housing, support young people to purchase a home, repair public housing, and provide people a safe and decent home. I look forward to continuing to work with the President, his administration, my colleagues in the House and Senate, and America’s housing advocates on enacting once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s housing programs.”

LeadingAge urges advocates to contact their House and Senate members in support of affordable senior housing investments in the infrastructure package. This alert makes it easy to connect to Hill offices and lend your support.