Joe Biden Releases Housing Plan

Former Vice President and presumed Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has released a comprehensive housing plan – much of which deals with affordable rental housing, including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.

Following are the major elements of the 81-page plan that relate to affordable housing.

  • A Homeowner & Renter Bill of Rights – this part of the plan would prevent mortgage brokers from leading borrowers into loans they cannot afford; prohibit the advancing of foreclosures when a homeowner is in the process of receiving a loan modification; and prohibit landlords from refusing to accept Housing Choice Vouchers.
  • Tenant eviction protections, including support for the Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act of 2020, which will help tenants facing eviction access legal assistance.
  • Encourage the elimination of local and state housing regulations that perpetuate discrimination by seeking legislation requiring any state receiving Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) or Surface Transportation Block Grants to develop inclusionary zoning practices.
  • Expand the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to apply to mortgage and insurance companies as well as banks and to close loopholes that allow banks to avoid lending and investing in all the communities they serve.
  • Re-implement the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule requiring communities to proactively examine housing patterns and identify and address policies that have a discriminatory effect.
  • Create an advanceable and refundable tax credit of up to $15,000 to assist families with down payments to purchase their first home.
  • Provide Section 8 vouchers to every eligible family by fully funding the Section 8 program.
  • Enact a Renter’s Tax Credit to reduce the cost of rent and utilities to 30% of income for low-income individuals and families who make too much to qualify for Section 8 but still cannot afford decent housing.
  • Establish a $100 billion Affordable Housing Fund to construct and upgrade affordable housing. This fund would be available to states and communities that are willing to implement new zoning laws that encourage more affordable housing. This Fund, along with the potential withholding of CDBG and transportation dollars, represents the “carrot and stick” approach that is most likely to work with cities that have heretofore been uninterested in affordable housing.
  • Expand the HOME program and the Capital Magnet Fund with an additional $5 billion annually.
  • Increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) by $20 billion.
  • Increase credits for the LIIHTC program by $10 billion.

This blueprint will certainly provide the framework for any Biden housing plan should he be elected President in November, so it is worth paying attention to. Clearly, some of the goals outlined in the plan would be beneficial to the affordable housing industry.