President Joe Biden has deemed the month of June “National Homeownership Month,” shining a spotlight on supporting the American Dream of homeownership, and recognizing the organizations that help individuals and families to achieve their housing goals.
The recognition of homeownership by our President began in 1995, with National Homeownership Week as a strategy of President Bill Clinton’s Administration to increase homeownership. In 2002, President George W. Bush expanded the observance of homeownership to span the entire month of June.
Through the work of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Biden’s Administration seeks to expand equal housing for all, most recently issuing his Fiscal Year 2022 Budget, which set aside nearly $35 billion for housing initiatives through four major tenets:
- Strengthening housing assistance by increasing access to affordable housing and providing greater opportunities for economic independence to families and individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Budget proposes an investment of $30.4 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher Program to expand assistance to an additional 200,000 households.
- Advancing housing equity by making investments in key areas to bring an end to discrimination, through investments including $3.8 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; $723 million for the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) Program for affordable housing in Tribal communities; and $85 million for Fair Housing programs.
- Increasing the production of access to affordable housing through investments in the American Jobs Plan, with $1.9 billion marked for the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program.
- Promoting climate resilience across the housing sector through an $800 million investment to reduce carbon pollution, increase resilience to the impact of climate change, and address environmental justice.
HUD also recently allocated $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to create affordable housing and provide services for those facing homelessness.
“HUD’s swift allocation of this $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funding reflects our commitment to addressing homelessness as a priority,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “With this strong funding, communities across the country will have the resources needed to give homes to the people who have had to endure the COVID-19 pandemic without one.”
Earlier this year, Biden took measures to protect homeowners and renters impacted by the pandemic, extending the moratorium on home foreclosures for federally-backed mortgages through the end of June.
In addition to HUD, other government agencies have committed to working with struggling borrowers through the pandemic, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed changes to help prevent impending foreclosure actions with the “Protections for Borrowers Affected by the COVID-19 Emergency Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Regulation X.” The CFPB forecasts that if current trends continue, there may be nearly 1.7 million loans at least 90 days delinquent come September 2021.
In addition to HUD and the CFPB, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also pledged its commitment to National Homeownership Month to provide access to affordable housing for rural Americans.
“Safe, energy-efficient, affordable housing is essential to the vitality of communities in rural America,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The American Rescue Plan is providing critical relief to rural homeowners and helping to keep more Americans in their homes. USDA is committed to using our resources to help support healthy, resilient and more equitable communities through homeownership.”
President’s Biden’s Proclamation of June as National Homeownership Month reads as follows:
“For millions of Americans, homeownership is the cornerstone of a life with security, with dignity, and with hope. A home is more than four walls and a roof; it is a place where we can celebrate triumphs and weather the trials of life. A place where we can watch our families grow and prosper. A place that helps us build wealth we can pass down to our children and our grandchildren.
“The aspiration to own a home is connected deeply to the American dream. It has driven generations of Americans, in search of a place to call one’s own.
“Today, for people across the United States, the desire to own a home burns as brightly as it ever has. Yet the stark reality is that, for too many, the dream of homeownership is becoming more difficult to realize and sustain. This is especially true in the wake of the economic devastation inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We also know that people of color continue to face discrimination in our housing market—when trying to secure mortgages, to have their homes appraised, and to live in neighborhoods where their families can thrive. In recent years, the homeownership gap between Black and white families reached its widest point since 1968, when banks could still legally discriminate against borrowers based on the color of their skin.
“This is economically and morally wrong, and it is why, as President, I have made it a central priority to expand stability and opportunity within our housing market. On my first day in office, I took executive action to extend foreclosure moratoriums for nearly 11 million households with mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Government. My Administration introduced and passed the American Rescue Plan, which will deliver nearly $10 billion in relief for homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments during the pandemic. And to create greater opportunities for homeownership moving forward, we have proposed the American Jobs Plan—which can spur the construction and rehabilitation of more than 500,000 homes for buyers of more modest means.
“The Department of Housing and Urban Development will continue to advance affordable and sustainable homeownership throughout our Nation. This will require that we help more hardworking Americans purchase their first homes, increase access to credit and mortgage insurance for borrowers of color, and fully enforce the 1968 Fair Housing Act—to root out systemic discrimination from our housing market and break down the unjust barriers that prevent too many Americans from buying a home.
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2021 as National Homeownership Month. I call upon the people of this Nation to recognize the enduring value of homeownership and to recommit ourselves to helping more Americans realize that dream.
“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.”