As the 2016 presidential election grows closer and candidates' campaigns pick up speed, there is one topic that has been considered to be a taboo among those in the race to the White House.
Housing policy has been a muted subject among all of the presidential candidates throughout their speeches, debates, and plans for the U.S., but one presidential hopeful has finally broke the silence.
After months of hearing about Wall Street reforms, former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton released her “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda," which outlines intentions to revitalize the economy and includes a substantial housing investment.
According to a factsheet on Clinton's campaign site, the goal of the agenda is to revitalize the economy in communities that have been left out and left behind, provide every child in America a world-class education, dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, tackle disparities in health and nutrition, and fight for environmental justice. In addition, the initiative will also create good-paying jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and connect housing to opportunity in communities that are being left out and left behind.
Interestingly, the agenda, or the $125 billion Economic Revitalization Initiative, will be paid for by a tax on Wall Street, which Clinton's campaign believes will ensure that the "major financial institutions that contributed to the Great Recession are doing their part in bringing back the communities it hurt the most."
A $25 billion portion of the initiative will be dedicated to "lifting more families into sustainable homeownership and connecting housing to opportunity," the factsheet stated.
"Homeownership is about more than just owning a home," Clinton's campaign explained. "It is about putting roots down in a community with better schools, safer streets and good jobs. And it is about building wealth, as homeowners build equity in their home one mortgage payment at a time. But this opportunity is increasingly out of reach for too many families, particularly families of color...We must make sure that everyone has a fair shot at homeownership."
"Homeownership is about more than just owning a home."
The campaign noted that 42 percent of black households and 47 percent of Latino households own a home, white homeownership sits at 72 percent.
Clinton's campaign believes the best way to reverse this disproportionate trend is not to lower credit standards, but lift more families into homeownership by:
- Supporting families as they save for sustainable homeownership. Clinton will support initiatives to match up to $10,000 in savings for a down payment for those who earn less than area median income. She will also reduce barriers to lending in underserved communities, support housing counseling programs, and police abuse and discrimination in the mortgage market.
- Building more affordable rental housing near good jobs and good schools.Clinton will increase support for affordable rental housing in the areas that need it most and encourage communities to implement land use strategies that make it easier to build affordable rental housing near good jobs.
- Overcoming pockets of distress. Clinton will provide the resources necessary to overcome blight, giving communities a chance to rebuild and renew with new businesses, new homeowners, and new hope. And she will connect housing support in high-poverty neighborhoods to economic opportunity.
Ed Brady, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Illinois applauded Clinton for "recognizing the significant role that housing plays in our local communities and economy and being one of the first presidential candidates to present a housing and community development plan that will help boost homeownership, rental housing and employment opportunities for the American people."
“Proposals such as providing a match for down payment savings, emphasizing homeownership counseling and taking steps to improve credit availability for qualified borrowers are all needed steps to boost homeownership. Secretary Clinton also recognizes the acute need to bolster the supply of affordable rental housing by proposing to increase the supply of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and remove local barriers to producing such housing. She also highlighted the importance of job training and apprenticeships as a path to economic opportunity, which the housing sector has a tremendous capacity to provide.
Click here to read Hillary Clinton's complete agenda.