Joe Biden Arrived Just in Time to Fix America’s Housing Crisis
America is currently in the throes of a massive housing crisis, but new president Joe Biden plans on answering the bell. The 46th President of The United States began his term with a to-do list that included enormous issues like fighting a pandemic, fixing a floundering economy and addressing nationwide civil unrest. In many ways, the housing crisis plaguing the country is a derivative of these issues, something Biden and his administration have not been shy about acknowledging. Due mainly to the pandemic, the current housing crisis has been exacerbated to such a degree that it is substantially more prominent than the horrific crisis of 2008. The toll has been brutal and sufficiently tapped the resources of both state and local governments that, unfortunately, only have an insufficient federal support system to fall back on. Emergency rental assistance is absolutely an immediate priority of the new administration. What is becoming clear, though, is that President Biden was poised to tackle such a large, multifaceted, and though inflamed at the moment, ultimately long-standing national housing problem.
Biden Ran on the Promise of Change to Federal Housing Assistance Programs
During his hard-fought campaign, Biden promoted a unique concept for housing equality by promising Section 8 rental assistance to all Americans eligible for federal aid. Such a change would be more than welcome because as federal funding stipulations currently stand, 75% of American’s eligible for Section 8 don’t get any help. If public housing funding can be insulated from unnecessary budget cuts via incorporation into the mandatory federal budget, the national poverty rate would drop by a whopping 25%. Biden also called for a $640 billion, decadelong housing stimulus to expand Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and other existing Housing and Urban Development programs. Much like the potential ripple-effect from his stance on Section 8, Biden’s housing tax credit investments would further combat poverty and stimulate the economy.
What the Biden Administration is Doing About the Housing Crisis
Congress and the Biden administration have already begun working together to pass an emergency relief bill to help desperate renters and at-risk homeowners. Moreover, Biden’s nominee for The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), has exciting plans not just to combat the current crisis but to dismantle its roots. In lock-step with her commander in chief, Fudge knows her priority must be to help the millions of Americans in forbearance and the hundreds of thousands of borrowers in delinquency. Her long-term plans center around striving toward making the dream of homeownership a reality for most Americans, which means combating redlining and the racial wealth gap. Neither of those hurdles is attributable to the pandemic, but it magnifies both to a harrowing degree. One way Fudge proposes to combat redlining specifically is through down payment assistance programs for buyers in previously neighborhoods previously deemed by banks to be financially risky for loans. President Biden himself has even proposed a broader version of the ethos behind Fudge’s down payment assistance program that would offer an advanceable $15,000 tax credit for down payments and closing costs.
Why There’s Cause for Optimism About the Future of American Housing
President Biden has a chance to not only restructure America’s housing safety net but to do a complete overhaul of the country’s federal housing policies. Simply put, Americans need to be able to punch their ticket to the middle class. Homeownership and the financial security that comes with it is a mandatory cornerstone of socio-economic advancement. Representative Fudge has made it abundantly clear she intends to help manifest President Biden’s promises by increasing access to Section 8 housing vouchers via HUD’s assistance programs. Additionally, she plans to champion her president’s vision of housing reformation by helping to boost the nation’s supply of affordable housing to the tune of 1.5 million new affordable homes.
Though Representative Fudge has yet to be confirmed, HUD has already taken a monumental stride toward actualizing President Biden’s housing vision. Just this week, The Fair Housing Act expanded to cover gender identity and sexual orientation, classes the act previously did not protect. That type of development is really what Biden’s and future HUD secretary Fudge’s vision is: housing is a human right, rather than a political issue with funding levels subject to infighting. Whether it’s redlining, racial wealth gaps or any other long-standing national problem connected to homeownership, The Biden administration has made it clear it’s time for a change.
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