Recommendations for Federal Investment in Affordable Housing
As Congress considers ways to build a better America, investments in practical solutions to the ongoing housing affordability crisis will create a foundation for economic growth and opportunity in the United States.
Housing Partnership Network (HPN) is a collaborative of mission-driven organizations who believe that housing is a critical element of a thriving, healthy and equitable community. HPN works across the spectrum of affordable housing needs from preventing homelessness to producing rental housing and providing for homeownership opportunities. We respond to community needs in urban, suburban and rural areas. Realizing that producing housing is only one part of providing a secure home, we are also committed to creating thriving neighborhoods and working for racial justice. Collectively the HPN network has served more than 12 million households and accounted for billions of dollars in economic activity annually.
The severity and complexity of the affordable housing crisis will require action and investment by the federal government to solve. HPN recommends Congress enact the proposals below based on our decades of collective experience working in affordable housing. We think these proposals will be the most effective to address the growing need to repair and preserve existing affordable housing, build new housing and ensure a robust economic recovery.
Build and Repair Housing
Congress should address the need for affordable housing, create jobs, and ensure safe, decent housing is available to everyone by investing in the following tools that are responsive to local needs and market conditions to build and repair affordable housing.
- Increase funding and flexibility for two proven Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs that allow local communities to meet local housing needs: HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
- Create the Housing Investment Fund, modeled on the successful Capital Magnet Fund, to leverage private capital to finance affordable housing solutions and community development;
- Expand available resources for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit through increased allocation and lowering the bond test to enable the construction of more affordable homes;
- Enact the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, a new tax credit to drive investment in single-family development in distressed communities;
- Establish the First Generation Homebuyer Downpayment Program, a new program to provide first-time, first-generation homebuyers with down payment assistance grants;
Invest in Communities
For affordable housing to be a bridge to opportunity, it is critical to have it be a part of a vibrant, thriving community infrastructure, which Congress can help create through the following investments.
- Expand of the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) program funding to $1 billion annually to ensure capital is going to certified community-based organizations;
- Establish the Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund, a new fund to invest in community-led civic infrastructure projects;
- Create the Unlocking Possibilities Program, a new program focused on zoning and land use that incentivizes states and localities that address barriers to greater housing accessibility.