Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Maxine Waters introduced the Housing is Infrastructure Act Thursday that would invest $100 billion in affordable housing.
According to CNBC, the bill would invest the $107 billion:
- $70 billion toward the Public Housing Capital Fund to build and renovate public housing.
- $10 billion into the Community Development Block Grant to be spent on eliminating zoning requirements and “other requirements that limit affordable housing development,” according to the text of the bill.
- $6 billion for housing for the elderly, people with disabilities, or Native Americans.
“We are in the midst of a housing affordability crisis across the country, caused in part by the lack of affordable and available rental units, rising rents, gentrification, and dilapidated public housing,” said Waters, Chairperson for the House Financial Services Committee. “For example, 10,000 units of public housing are lost each year as a result of disinvestment, and it would take $70 billion to address the capital needs. ... Studies have shown that neglecting our housing infrastructure will only hurt our economy, so I urge my colleagues to support this legislation to make the necessary investments in rural, suburban and urban housing markets, and ensure all future conversations around infrastructure investments include affordable housing.”
Harris, who is also a Democratic Presidential candidate, said, “too many Americans are fighting tooth and nail to keep a roof over their heads” as the nation faces an affordability crisis.
“It will take a comprehensive and serious investment to confront this issue head-on, and the Housing is Infrastructure Act is our best chance to get it done,” Harris said.
The bill—H.R. 5187—is supported by several agencies, including the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association.
“The connection between affordable homes and infrastructure is clear: like roads and bridges, affordable homes are a long-term asset that helps communities and the lowest-income families thrive,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “It is critical that any infrastructure package includes significant resources to build and preserve homes affordable to our nation’s poorest seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals.”
Tim Kaiser, Executive Director of the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association, said more than two decades of underfunding had been “catastrophic” for public housing.
“PHADA is pleased to support this bill and to have provided analysis on the amount of critical funding necessary to address the underfunding of public housing capital needs. We appreciate the leadership of Chairwoman Waters on this measure,” Kaiser said.