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Repairing the Housing System’s Structural Issues

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing entitled, “Building Back a Better, More Equitable Housing Infrastructure for America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

Called to testify on the state of the Department was HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge speaking on behalf of the Biden-Harris administration.

“I know President Biden is committed—in his head and in his heart—to help more people find a stable, affordable, and dignified place to call home. He has made that commitment clear,” said Secretary Fudge. “The President’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022 requests $68.7 billion for HUD. This represents an increase of $9 billion—or 15%—from our enacted funding from the previous fiscal year.”

In April, President Biden requested his fiscal year 2022 discretionary funding budget, which set aside $68 billion-plus for HUD and programs dedicated to the nation’s equitable housing designed to reduce the racial wealth gap.

“Today, it is harder to find an affordable home in America than at any point since the 2008 financial crisis. The high cost of housing keeps millions of families up at night,” said Secretary Fudge. “They wonder if they can afford to keep a roof over their head—and still manage to keep their lights on … to pay for their prescriptions … to put food on their tables. The President’s Budget takes bold action to address our affordable housing crisis—and to dramatically strengthen our social safety net for the most vulnerable among us.”

Among Biden’s goals to boost housing equality:

  • A total of $3.5 billion to provide housing and supportive services to Americans experiencing homelessness.
  • $30.4 billion for HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, which, if enacted, would deliver life-changing assistance to an additional 200,000 households.
  • $723 million in Indian Housing Block Grants to create affordable housing and spark economic development on tribal lands.
  • $3.8 billion in Community Development Block Grants, including $295 million in targeted funding for historically underserved areas in cities, small towns, and rural communities.
  • $3.2 billion to help restore public housing, as many properties face significant capital needs, with Americans of color representing roughly 70% of people in public housing.
  • $800 million to strengthen climate resilience in public housing, on tribal lands, and across HUD-supported communities.
  • $800 million to strengthen climate resilience in public housing, on tribal lands, and across HUD-supported communities to help guard against flooding and other natural disasters.

“Key to building back better, and more equitably, is understanding that housing is infrastructure,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services. “For the first time in a generation, we have a real opportunity to fix structural problems in our housing system and reverse decades of disinvestment in low-income communities and communities of color.”

Despite mortgage rates at all-time lows below the 3% mark, affordability remains an issue for many looking to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. According to a new report from Redfin, asking prices of newly listed homes were up 12% from the same time a year ago to a median of $361,700, up 0.5% from the four-week period ending July 4, but down 0.6% from the all-time high two weeks ago.

Rep. Waters said, "We must make housing a top priority. These generational investments will increase homeownership, provide a permanent housing safety net, and end homelessness in this country once and for all."

“America cannot return to the status quo of yesterday—prior to the pandemic. We must not return to an America beset by crumbling homes and buildings; to an America grappling with a crisis in affordable housing,” said Secretary Fudge. “We must build back better, together. I look forward to partnering with this Committee [House Financial Services Committee] to help make housing-for-all a reality in our nation—and to ensure that HUD acts as a responsible steward for the funding entrusted to us.”

Click here to view a webcast of the House Financial Services Committee Hearing “Building Back A Better, More Equitable Housing Infrastructure for America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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