Launches first-of-its-kind program to address land use and zoning barriers that limit housing
President Biden’s economic vision is about building an economy from the middle out and bottom up, not the top down— that’s Bidenomics. A critical foundation of that vision, and the central goal of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan, is an economy where everyone has access to a safe and affordable home. That vision means lowering costs, including by building and preserving more housing, particularly for lower- and middle-income households. Today’s announcements will lower housing costs by tackling challenges that have stifled affordable housing for decades, as well as seizing immediate opportunities:
Reducing barriers to build housing like restrictive and costly land use and zoning rules;
Expanding financing for affordable, energy efficient and resilient housing; and
Promoting commercial-to-residential conversion opportunities, particularly for affordable and zero emissions housing.
Recent data show that inflation in rental markets is decelerating and more apartments are on track to be built this year than any year on record. The Administration’s actions are directly leading to the creation of tens of thousands of affordable housing units. For example, jurisdictions participating in the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP) HOME program will produce at least 20,000 units of affordable housing and support an additional 23,000 households with rental assistance, non-congregate shelter, or supportive services. Treasury recently announced that communities across the country will use ARP State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund funds for 2,500 separate projects and developments to meet housing needs and combat homelessness. And since the Administration’s restart of the Federal Financing Bank’s Risk Sharing program, almost 12,000 rental homes have been created or preserved.
Reducing Barriers to Build Housing Like Restrictive and Costly Land Use and Zoning Rules
Local land use laws and zoning regulations limit where, and how densely, housing can be built. This constrains housing supply, perpetuates historical patterns of segregation, prevents workers from accessing jobs, and increases energy costs and climate risk. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to fund jurisdictions committed to removing barriers that restrict housing production and preservation, including by:
Announcing the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) program. Restrictive local land use rules slow down housing production, or prohibit housing being developed at all, which increases the costs to rent or purchase a home. Such restrictive rules are often also inconsistent with fair housing principles. This first-of-its-kind $85 million federal program will provide communities with funding to identify and remove barriers to affordable housing production and preservation. HUD will award grants of up to $10 million to jurisdictions that have an acute demand for affordable housing and are working to identify, address, or remove barriers to housing production and preservation. Funding can be used for planning and policy activities to allow for higher-density zoning and rezoning for multifamily and mixed-use housing, streamlining affordable housing development, and reducing requirements related to parking and other land use restrictions. Funding can also be used for infrastructure activities necessary for the development or preservation of housing.
Reducing land-use restrictions and improving transportation access to housing. Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation announced its Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) program, which will provide up to $3.16 billion for planning and capital construction projects that prioritize disadvantaged communities and improve access to daily destinations. This includes improving connections to affordable housing, fostering equitable development, and increasing housing supply through zoning reform. RCN includes a $450 million Regional Partnership Challenge that will incentivize stronger regional partnerships to tackle persistent equitable access and mobility challenges, with land use reform as a key priority.
Encouraging the improvement of land use in Economic Development Administration grant programs. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) updated its “Investment Priorities” that guide the agency’s grantmaking to include an emphasis on efficient land use, where commercial uses, economic activity, and employment opportunities are concentrated and accessible to nearby residential density. Moving forward, EDA will more explicitly incentivize projects that include an emphasis on density in the vicinity of the project – which can in turn encourage greater housing supply and allow people to live closer to work and services they need.
Expanding Financing to Create and Repair Affordable, Energy Efficient and Climate Resilient Housing
Gaps in access to financing, along with the complexity of mixing funding sources, limit the production or preservation of affordable housing. The Biden-Harris Administration is taking the following actions to expand financing for affordable, energy efficient, and climate resilient housing going forward:
Providing new financing for affordable, energy efficient, climate resilient housing and clean energy investments. This month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), which will mobilize private capital and provide financing for thousands of clean energy projects, including cost-saving retrofits of existing homes and buildings, construction of zero emissions buildings, and commercial to residential conversions, among others. Such investments will reduce pollution and lower utility costs. This announcement follows HUD’s announcement of its Green and Resilient Retrofit Program with over $830 million available in grants and loan subsidy, for loan commitments up to $4 billion, to modernize existing HUD-assisted affordable homes so they remain available for families into the future. The Department of Energy also released $90 million to advances efficiency and resilience through building codes, and HUD, FHA, and the United States Department of Agriculture proposed modernizing energy codes.
Making it easier to build and rehabilitate apartments with FHA-insured mortgages. HUD announced new guidelines that increase the dollar amount threshold at which a multifamily loan is considered a large loan and is subject to additional underwriting requirements from $75 million to $120 million. This change will simplify underwriting and reduce development costs for large multifamily properties financed with FHA-insured mortgages without presenting undue risk to FHA, significantly expanding commitments for affordable housing financing. HUD will review this large loan limit annually.
Streamlining financing for the creation of affordable housing. HUD announced that it will allow larger loans to participate in the agency’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Pilot Program, which increases the number of apartment sites eligible for a program that streamlines financing. HUD also updated guidelines to allow public housing authorities (PHAs) to more easily use housing vouchers and mixed-finance transactions to create or preserve housing.
Repairing and expanding affordable housing. HUD published new guidance for public housing authorities and multifamily housing owners participating in the Rental Assistance Demonstration, providing them with additional tools to repair and build deeply affordable housing. The guidance also promotes water- and energy-efficiency investments, and includes new requirements that address climate resilience, adopts stronger energy efficiency standards, and supports repairs to thousands of existing affordable units in the next three years.
Empowering homeowners to be part of the solution by increasing financing for onsite housing units. In April, FHA proposed updates that, if implemented, would make it easier to finance accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are additional onsite housing units. Among the changes is the ability to include projected rental income from an ADU as part of the qualifying income when purchasing or refinancing a home. This added flexibility would expand opportunities for low- and moderate-income homeowners to benefit from the wealth-building potential of ADUs while increasing the stock of affordable housing.
Promoting Commercial-to-Residential Conversions
Across the country, commercial vacancies are affecting urban and regional economies. Commercial-to-residential conversion can counteract those effects, reenergize local economies, and add to the supply of housing. The adaptive reuse of these properties also presents an opportunity to create zero-emissions housing, which will reduce energy costs for residents and cut dangerous climate pollution. Recognizing that opportunity, the Biden-Harris Administration is launching a new commercial-to-residential conversion initiative that is:
Leveraging federal funding and other tools to support conversions. The White House will lead a new interagency working group to develop and advance federal funding opportunities that support the conversion of commercial properties to housing, and leverage climate-focused federal resources to create zero emissions and affordable units. For example, programs like HUD’s PRO Housing announced today, as well as investments from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, can be used for such conversions. As part of this initiative, the General Services Administration (GSA) will launch an effort to identify and market surplus federal properties that represent the best opportunities for commercial-to-residential conversions. Ongoing conversion projects from GSA dispositions are already producing over 1,000 new housing units. The initiative will continue to convene developers, municipalities, and other stakeholders to learn about opportunities and challenges.
Funding research that supports commercial to residential conversions. This week, HUD announced new funding to support research on office-to-residential conversions, including producing a new guide for state and local policymakers on how to make these projects more economically viable. Building on a public convening held this week on office-to-residential conversions, HUD will release a policy brief on this topic later this year.
Over 44 million households, or roughly 35 percent of the U.S. population, live in rental housing. But our nation’s rental market is defined by a patchwork of state and local laws and legal processes that leave far too many renters with little recourse when housing providers fail to comply with the law or the lease agreement. President Biden believes every American deserves access to safe, accessible, and affordable housing, reflected in the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights, which outlines principles and best practices at the federal, state and local level that would strengthen tenant protections and increase fairness in the rental market.
The Biden-Harris Administration is building on this framework and announcing a series of new, concrete actions to protect renters, which include:
Ensuring all renters have an opportunity to address incorrect tenant screening reports;
Providing new funding to support tenant organizing efforts; and
Ensuring that renters are given fair notice in advance of eviction.
These announcements build on a record of action and progress on behalf of renters. In response to the pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration deployed unprecedented tools to keep Americans housed, including delivering nearly 11 million emergency rental assistance payments, and establishing a first-of-its-kind national eviction prevention infrastructure that kept eviction filings below pre-pandemic levels for 1.5 years after the eviction moratorium ended. However, many of the systemic inequities in rental markets that existed prior to the pandemic persist today and are compounded by our nation’s housing affordability challenges. That is why the Biden-Harris Administration has taken bold action to address issues of housing supply and lower costs through its Housing Supply Action Plan, including actions also announced today, and is announcing new actions on renters protections here.
These actions include:
Ensuring fair tenant screening practices. The U.S. Department of Housingand Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and three independent agencies, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) are each releasing guidance or best practices to landlords, operators, and stakeholders who rely on tenant screening reports when evaluating applications from renters. This guidance communicates the Administration’s expectations on informing renters of what information in their screening report is responsible for their application being denied. This information will help renters by giving them an opportunity to correct errors in their reports and address issues that impact their applications.
Funding tenant education and outreach. HUD is announcing $10 million in new funding for tenant education and outreach in properties it supports. This funding will support capacity building efforts that enable tenants who live in HUD’s project based rental assistance housing to engage with property managers and help sustain safe, decent, and affordable housing. Under the program, funding can be used for training and technical assistance, as well as establishing and operating tenant organizations.
Providing more time for tenants to avoid eviction. HUD has committed to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require that tenants of public housing and properties with project-based rental assistance receive a written notice at least 30 days prior to lease termination for nonpayment of rent. This proposed rule would curtail preventable and unnecessary evictions by providing tenants time and information to help address nonpayment violations. Tenants in public housing and properties with project-based rental assistance are already entitled to receive a 30 day notice in cases of non-payment of rent. However, if finalized, the proposed rule would permanently memorialize this requirement in HUD’s regulations, allowing the agency additional latitude to effectively communicate and implement these protections. As part of the rulemaking process, tenants and other parties will also be able to provide their comments and perspectives to help HUD make sure this rule assists with preventable evictions.
Increasing resident engagement requirements. This week, HUD published new guidance for public housing authorities and multifamily housing owners participating in the Rental Assistance Demonstration, strengthening resident protections through updated resident engagement requirements and enhanced HUD oversight tools, including active monitoring of additional information that demonstrates resident engagement. These new requirements will help ensure residents have more opportunities to provide feedback on the preservation of their homes.
Ensuring renters have a seat at the table. The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized engagement with tenants, tenant organizers and advocacy organizations, including in the creation of its Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights. These engagements ensure renter voice and expertise inform the government’s understanding of challenges that exist in the rental market, and that solutions increase fairness. This week HUD hosted the National Conversation at The Community Table, to hear directly from hundreds of renters on federal policy. In addition, FHFA, FTC and CFPB have each issued requests for information that will inform their respective policymaking; Treasury is hosting quarterly tenant listening sessions on individuals’ experiences with emergency rental assistance; and USDA will host a convening with renters in rural areas this fall.
Announcing major private sector and state and local action. In January, the White House announced its Resident-Centered Housing Challenge, a call to action to housing providers and other stakeholders to strengthen practices that improve quality of life for renters. Since then, over 100 public and private sector entities have pledged to align with the principles in the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Right. The Administration continues to rally the private and public sector, and welcomes additional actions from housing providers and others to meet this call. Several commitments were announced at the launch of the challenge; examples of new actions include:
Zillow, next year, will launch the ability for its nearly 28 million average monthly unique visitors to search for affordable rental units, including listings that may meet requirements for programs like the Housing Choice Vouchers and income restricted affordable housing. Zillow will offer a one-stop-shop for renters to find affordable rentals and easy to understand information about local laws that will help ensure users know their rights related to leasing and remaining housed with or without rental assistance.
AffordableHousing.com will, this year, deploy “Clear and Fair” digital leases that advocate the principles outlined in the White House Blueprint for a Renter Bill of Rights. Property owners who use these “Clear and Fair” leases will be acknowledged on the site, which receives more than 100 million property searches each year.
Last week, Zillow, Apartments.com, and AffordableHousing.comannounced they will provide consumers with total, upfront cost information on rental properties, which can be hundreds of dollars on top of the advertised rent.
State and Local Governments
Colorado enacted House Bill 23-1120, which requires landlords and tenants to go through mediation in eviction proceedings if the tenant qualified for some forms of financial assistance, and House Bill 23-1095, prohibiting rental agreements from including a certain waiver that limit a renter’s legal recourse.
Connecticut enacted Senate Bill 998, which increases fines on landlords to $2,000 for breaking housing code violations, bans landlords from housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, puts new limits on the amount landlords can charge in fees for overdue rent, offers protections against certain evictions and rent increases to a protected class, and removes online eviction records of cases that were withdrawn, dismissed, or decided in favor of the tenant within 30 days.
Jersey City, NJ announced a “Right To Counsel” program in April 2023, as did Westchester County, NYin May 2023, and St. Louis, MO in July 2023. These programs offer legal assistance to qualified renters facing an eviction.
Los Angeles, CA and Santa Ana, CA each released a series of renter protections. Los Angeles’ ordinances include “just cause” eviction protections, a timeline for paying rental debt accrued during the pandemic, and require landlords to pay relocation fees in some situations, amongst other protections. Santa Ana’s new rental registry will ensure tenants and landlords know their rights and responsibilities and will compliment an eviction prevention program providing rental assistance and supports to qualified households.
These actions come on the heels of other Biden-Harris Administration actions since creating the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights. CFPB and FTC, both independent agencies, issued a Request for Information seeking public comment on how background screening may shut renters out of housing. FHFA, also in independent agency, initiated a process to solicit feedback on ways to advance renter protections in its financing programs. All three agencies have committed to using those responses to inform potential policy action. HUD released a notification for public comment on ways it can improve its regulations and accessibility standards to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to all HUD-assisted programs, activities, and facilities. In addition, the White House announced first-of-its-kind funding for legal services for veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness in June. Just last week, President Biden announced new actions to address unfair and hidden fees in the rental housing market. Congressional action could bolster these efforts by codifying renters’ rights into law, and to passing the President’s budget proposal, which includes historic investments to lower housing cost and protect renters, expand housing supply and affordability, including funding for eviction prevention.
Major rental housing platforms and several states join the President’s effort to crack down on rental housing junk fees for consumers and increase transparency
While the 3x indicted, 2x impeached serial criminal dictator wannabe Donald J. Trump continues to overturn democracy and seek office solely for his own benefit (staying out of prison, unlimited funds), the Biden-Harris Administration continues to actually take actions (not talk or promises) to make lives better for all Americans. The benefits are demonstrated in the strength of the economy, record job growth, real increases in wages. While Republicans do everything they can to obstruct, to create false narratives (inflation! Gas prices! Crime! Hunter Biden) and have undermined (sabotaged) the economy by bringing the full faith and credit in the U.S. to the brink, causing a lowering in America’s credit rating, Biden has taken action to lower costs for average Americans, give families “more breathing room” and grow the economy sustainably, from the bottom up and the middle out. Here’s a White House fact sheet on the latest actions: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Biden announced a new front in his crackdown on junk fees: rental housing. From repeated rental application fees to surprise “convenience fees,” millions of families incur burdensome costs in the rental application process and throughout the duration of their lease. These fees are often more than the actual cost of providing the service, or are added onto rents to cover services that renters assume are included—or that they don’t even want.
Rental housing fees can be a serious burden on renters. Rental application fees can be up to $100 or more per application, and, importantly, they often exceed the actual cost of conducting the background and credit checks. Given that prospective renters often apply for multiple units over the course of their housing search, these application fees can add up to hundreds of dollars. Even after renters secure housing, they are often surprised to be charged mandatory fees on top of their rent, including “convenience fees” to pay rent online, fees for things like mail sorting and trash collection, and even so-called “January fees” charged for no clear reason at the beginning of a new calendar year. Hidden fees not only take money out of people’s pockets, they also make it more difficult to comparison shop. A prospective renter may choose one apartment over another thinking it is less expensive, only to learn that after fees and other add-ons the actual cost for their chosen apartment is much higher than they expected or can afford.
The President outlined several new, concrete steps in the Administration’s effort to crack down on rental junk fees and lower costs for renters, including:
New commitments from major rental housing platforms—Zillow, Apartments.com, and AffordableHousing.com—who have answered the President’s call for transparency and will provide consumers with total, upfront cost information on rental properties, which can be hundreds of dollars on top of the advertised rent;
New research from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which provides a blueprint for a nationwide effort to address rental housing junk fees; and
Legislative action in states across the country—from Connecticut to California—who are joining the Administration in its effort to crack down on rental housing fees and protect consumers.
These announcements build on the President’s effort to tackle junk fees across industries. President Biden has repeatedly called on federal agencies, Congress, and private companies to take action to address junk fees across the economy, and ensure Americans are provided with honest, transparent pricing. These hidden fees increase the costs consumers pay: studies have found that consumers pay upward of 20 percent extra when the actual price of the product or service is not disclosed upfront. Providing consumers with the full price they can expect to pay creates competition among providers to lower costs, without relying on hidden fees. Earlier this year HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge released an open letter to housing providers and state and local governments to encourage them to adopt policies that promote greater fairness and transparency of fees specifically faced by renters. Today’s actions include:
Commitments by rental housing platforms to show total costs up front. Each month, tens of millions of customers search online to find their next apartment or house. Today, major rental housing platforms are answering President Biden’s call for pricing transparency and announcing new steps to provide consumers with up-front information about fees in rental housing, building on recent actions by private sector leaders in other sectors, including airlines and event tickets. By providing the true costs of rent, people can make an informed decision about where to live and not be surprised by additional costs that push them over budget.
These companies are making the following announcements:
Zillow is today launching a Cost of Renting Summary on its active apartment listings, empowering the 28 million unique monthly users on its rental platform with clear information on the cost of renting. This new tool will enable renters to easily find out the total cost of renting an apartment from the outset, including all monthly costs and one-time costs, like security deposits and application fees.
Apartments.com is announcing that this year it will launch a new calculator on its platform that will help renters determine the all-in price of a desired unit. This will include all up-front costs as well as recurring monthly rents and fees. The Apartments.com Network currently lists almost 1.5 million active availabilities across more than 385,000 properties.
AffordableHousing.com, the nation’s largest online platform dedicated solely to affordable housing, will require owners to disclose all refundable and non-refundable fees and charges upfront in their listings. It will launch a new “Trusted Owner” badge that protects renters from being charged junk fees by identifying owners who have a history of adhering to best practices, including commitment to reasonable fee limits, no junk fees, and full fee disclosure.
New research on policy innovation to address rental fees. HUD is releasing a new research brief that provides an overview of the research on rental fees and highlights state, local, and private sector strategies to encourage transparency and fairness in the rental market, including capping or eliminating rental application fees; allowing prospective renters to provide their own screening reports; allowing a single application fee to cover multiple applications; and clearly identifying bottom-line amounts that tenants will pay for move-in and monthly rent. The brief provides a blueprint for how everyone from local government to landlords can do better for renters.
Colorado. Enacted House Bill 1099, which allows prospective renters to reuse a rental application for up to 30 days without paying additional fees; and House Bill 1095, which limits fees to tenants when landlords fail to provide a nonrenewal notice that disguise fees as “rent,” and limits the amount a landlord can mark up a tenant for third-party services.
Rhode Island. Enacted House Bill 6087 to limit rental application fees beyond the actual cost of obtaining a background check or credit report, if the prospective tenant does not provide their own report.
Minnesota. Enacted Senate File 2909, which includes a requirement for landlords to clearly display the total monthly payment and all nonoptional fees on the first page of the lease agreement and in all advertisements.
Connecticut. Enacted Senate Bill 998 to prohibit a landlord from requiring a fee for processing, reviewing, or accepting a rental application, and set a cap of $50 on the amount that can be charged for tenant screening reports. The law also prohibits move-in and move-out fees, and certain fee-related lease provisions, including certain late fees related to utility payments.
Maine. Enacted Legislative Document 691 to prohibit a landlord from charging a fee to submit a rental application that exceeds the actual cost of a background check, a credit check, or another screening process. The law also prohibits a landlord from charging more than one screening fee in any 12-month period.
Montana. Senate passed Senate Bill 320 to require landlords to refund application fees to unsuccessful rental applicants except any portion of the fee used to cover costs related to reviewing the application, including conducting a background check. Landlords may only charge candidates for the actual cost of obtaining a background check or credit report.
California. Senate passed Senate Bill 611 to require the mandatory disclosure of monthly rent rates, including disclosure of a range of payments, fees, deposits, or charges, and to prohibit certain fees from being charged.
Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, both independent agencies, requested information on tenant screening processes, including how landlords and property managers set application and screening fees, which will help inform enforcement and policy actions under each agency’s jurisdiction. The CFPB has noted that background checks too often include inaccurate or misleading information and risk scores that lack independent validation of their reliability.
These announcements build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to support renters, including through the release of a first-of-its-kind Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights and a Housing Supply Action Plan, focused on boosting the supply of affordable housing—including rental housing. Reducing housing costs is central to Bidenomics, and recent data show that inflation in rental housing is abating. Moreover, experts predict that roughly 1 million new apartments will be built this year, increasing supply that will further increase affordability. The actions announced today will help renters understand these fees and the full price they can expect to pay, and create additional competition housing providers to reduce reliance on hidden fees.
In the coming months, the Biden-Harris Administration will work with Congress, state leaders, and the private sector to address rental junk fees and build a fairer rental housing market. On July 26, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will host its first-ever hearing on junk fees, including in the rental housing market.
The Biden Administration also launches Resident-Centered Housing Challenge, a call-to-action to improve the quality of life for renters
The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to increase fairness in the rental market and further principles of fair housing. These actions align with a new Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rightsthat the Administration is also releasing. The Blueprint lays out a set of principles to drive action by the federal government, state and local partners, and the private sector to strengthen tenant protections and encourage rental affordability. Key actions announced include:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), both independent agencies, announced they will collect information to identify practices that unfairly prevent applicants and tenants from accessing or staying in housing in order to inform enforcement and policy actions under each agency’s jurisdiction. This is the first time the FTC has issued a request for information exploring unfair practices in the rental market. The two agencies will seek information on a broad range of practices that affect the rental market, including the creation and use of tenant background checks, the use of algorithms in tenant screenings, the provision of adverse action notices by landlords and property management companies, and how an applicant’s source of income factors into housing decisions.
The CFPB announced it will issue guidance and coordinate enforcement efforts with the FTC to ensure accurate information in the credit reporting system and to hold background check companies accountable for having unreasonable procedures.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), an independent agency, announced it will launch a new public process to examine proposed actions promoting renter protections and limits on egregious rent increases for future investments. FHFA will maintain transparency throughout the process and provide periodic updates, including one within 6 months, to interested stakeholders. As announced in November, the FHFA will also increase affordability in the multifamily rental market by establishing requirements that encourage the financing of multifamily loans that guarantee affordable housing. In 2022, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae purchased a combined $142 billion in multifamily loans supporting over one million units. If the same activity holds in 2023, this would mean an investment in approximately 700,000 affordable units.
A U.S. Department of Justice workshop will inform potential guidance updates around anti-competitive information sharing, including in rental markets.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require public housing authorities and owners of project-based rental assistance properties to provide at least 30 days’ advanced notice before terminating a lease due to nonpayment of rent.
The Administration will hold quarterly meetings with a broad, diverse, and varying group of tenants and tenant advocates to ensure they continue to have a seat at the table and can share ambitious ideas to strengthen tenant protections.
These new announcements are part of a broader set of federal actions that exemplify the principles laid out in the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights, which underscores key protections every renter deserves:
Safe, Quality, Accessible, and Affordable Housing: Renters should have access to housing that is safe, decent, and affordable.
Clear and Fair Leases: Renters should have a clear and fair lease that has defined rental terms, rights, and responsibilities.
Education, Enforcement, and Enhancement of Renter Rights: Federal, state, and local governments should do all they can to ensure renters know their rights and to protect renters from unlawful discrimination and exclusion.
The Right to Organize: Renters should have the freedom to organize without obstruction or harassment from their housing provider or property manager.
Eviction Prevention, Diversion, and Relief: Renters should be able to access resources that help them avoid eviction, ensure the legal process during an eviction proceeding is fair, and avoid future housing instability.
In addition, the Administration is rallying state and local stakeholders and private housing actors to drive further action to protect renters in line with the Blueprint. As part of this effort, the Administration is launching the Resident-Centered Housing Challenge (Challenge), a call to action to housing providers and other stakeholders to strengthen practices and make their own independent commitments that improve the quality of life for renters. The Challenge, which will occur during the Spring of 2023, also encourages states, local, Tribal, and territorial governments to enhance existing policies and develop new ones that promote fairness and transparency in the rental market. Early commitments in support of the Challenge, which would affect over 15 million rental units, include:
Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency(PHFA) have capped annual rental increases to 5 percent per year for federally or state subsidized affordable housing. Beginning in 2023, WHEDA policy applies to existing residents in properties utilizing state or federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. PHFA applied this policy to their portfolio of 450 properties with PHFA funding in 2022.
Members of the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), which collectively own or manage 145,000 housing units across the U.S., commit to offer flexible payment plans for residents with unpaid rent who have engaged with property management and to provide the following notices and protections where permitted by local law and financing documents: at least 30 days’ notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent; at least 5 days to cure a missed rent payment; and 60 days’ notice to tenants of any proposed sale or closure of a property. SAHF also commits to launching a task force of its members to identify best practices for resident-centered practices and share resources with the field including model policies and procedures, sample notices, and case studies.
Realtor.com Rentals will pilot a new listing process through their DIY landlord product, Avail, highlighting units and landlords that indicate that they welcome Housing Choice Vouchers. Realtor.com will be able to share this information with its nearly 5 million monthly rentals search visitors. They will also ensure that more than 1.3 million Avail renters have access to their application information so they can submit their application to multiple property owners on the platform without additional cost.
The National Apartment Association commits to promoting resident programming and practices, such as helping tenants build and improve credit through reporting of positive rent payments to credit bureaus, through their website, industry events and other content channels that reach a network of more over 95,000 members owning and operating more than 11.6 million apartment homes globally.
The National Association of Realtors and its affiliate, the Institute of Real Estate Management, commit to creating new resources for property managers in their network of 1.5 million members that highlight ways they can incorporate resident-centered property management practices in their businesses. Practices would include a range of examples that have proven effective, such as advertising to prospective residents that Housing Choice Vouchers are accepted at their property, providing information about rental assistance, and using alternative credit scores for applicants without a detailed credit history.
The National Multifamily Housing Council commits to working with its 2,000 members to identify business standards that align with principles of resident-centered management practices, such as helping residents build credit, providing resource information to residents in financial distress, and communicating these practices through a new resource hub on its website.
The Administration welcomes additional commitments from interested stakeholders to: pursue high-road practices aligned with the Blueprint principles; create new benefits for residents that enhance their economic mobility, build credit, and prepare them for homeownership; reduce or eliminating rental “junk fees,” which are the hidden fees, charges, and add-ons that take cash out of people’s pockets; expand pathways to eviction mitigation and prevention; and enhance and increase communication about tenant rights. To join the Challenge, interested partners can complete this survey by April 28, 2023. Questions regarding the White House Resident-Centered Housing Challenge team, can be directed to [email protected].
Over a third of the American population – 44 million households – rent their homes. Before the pandemic, well over 2 million eviction fillings and roughly 900,000 evictions occurred annually – disproportionately affecting Black women and their children. Since then, rental housing has become less affordable with some landlords taking advantage of market conditions to pursue egregious rent increases. Today’s announcements recognize there are responsible housing providers – large and small, national and local – willing to treat renters fairly, but it also holds accountable those who exploit market realities at the cost of renters’ housing access and stability.
Since taking office, the President has taken substantial steps to promote fairness in the rental market and ease the burden of rental costs for millions of American renters. The Administration kept the national eviction moratorium in place until August 2021, which helped to prevent over 1.5 million eviction filings nationwide. The Administration has delivered over 8 million rental or utility assistance payments to reduce renters’ risk of eviction or housing instability through Emergency Rental Assistance programs and provided over $769 million for housing stability services. Last May, the Administration released a Housing Supply Action Plan, which set the goal of closing America’s housing supply shortfall in five years. The Administration has been making progress advancing a long-term goal of providing housing vouchers to all eligible households: the 2022 and 2023 President’s Budgets proposed to expand rental assistance to an additional 200,000 households – and the Administration has secured rental assistance to more than 100,000 households through the 2022 and 2033 appropriations bills and the American Rescue Plan. And, last week, HUD published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on its efforts to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing.
With the expiration of the CDC’s housing moratorium, President Joe Biden instructed key agencies to take actions to protect renters at risk of eviction. President Biden issued this statement:
“As the eviction moratorium deadline approaches tomorrow, I call on all state and local governments to take all possible steps to immediately disburse these funds given the imminent ending of the CDC eviction moratorium. State and local governments began receiving Emergency Rental Assistance funding in February and were eligible for an additional $21.5 billion passed in the American Rescue Plan. Five months later, with localities across the nation showing that they can deliver funds effectively – there can be no excuse for any state or locality not accelerating funds to landlords and tenants that have been hurt during this pandemic. Every state and local government must get these funds out to ensure we prevent every eviction we can. State and local governments can and should use both the Emergency Rental Assistance and their American Rescue Plan state and local funds to support policies with courts, community groups, and legal aid to ensure no one seeks an eviction when they have not sought out Emergency Rental Assistance funds. State and local governments should also be aware that there is no legal barrier to moratorium at the state and local level. My Administration will not rest – nor should state and local governments – until Emergency Rental Assistance dollars reach Americans in need.”
This joint statement from the Secretaries of USDA, HUD, VA, Treasury and the FHFA Acting Director on agency actions to prevent evictions following the expiration of the moratorium on evictions and the Supreme Court’s decision rendering the CDC unable to extend the moratorium, has been forwarded by the White House:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium is in place until July 31st, but the Supreme Court’s ruling made clear that CDC cannot extend the moratorium past its current expiration date. In light of that decision, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking steps to protect renters at risk of eviction. Today, at the President’s request, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) have extended their foreclosure-related eviction moratoria until September 30, 2021.
The President further asked our agencies, which play a significant role in providing and insuring affordable rental housing, to explore all available tools to keep American safe and housed. Through nearly 20 programs, financial incentives, tax credits, loans and guarantees, the federal government provides owners and operators of rental housing with significant support to provide housing to renters. As Secretaries of Agriculture, HUD, VA, and Treasury, and Acting Director of the FHFA, we recognize that our agencies provide the financial resources and incentives for federally-assisted and financed rental housing. We want to make clear that the owners and operators of this housing should make every effort to access Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) resources to avoid evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent. These resources are available in every state, and many counties and cities are also running local programs. Owners and operators of federally-assisted housing are stewards of important public resources and should access rental assistance both to prevent unnecessary human suffering and to protect the public investment in affordable housing.
The American Rescue Plan allocated an additional $21.5 billion for ERA that can be used by renters to cover rent and make landlords whole. This is on top of $25 billion allocated under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, bringing the total amount of ERA available to more than $46 billion and creating an economic, public health, and moral imperative for state and local governments to rise to the challenge of building a new infrastructure for getting ERA to vulnerable renters and landlords.
While few state and local agencies had ERA programs prior to this funding becoming available, the Administration has engaged in a whole-of-government effort to drive the distribution of these resources. Treasury has developed flexible program rules to make assistance easier to access, provided best practices for establishing effective programs, and communicated consequences for a lack of performance by state and local grantees.
To support Treasury as it implements the ERA program, HUD is providing technical assistance to HUD grantees and working with public housing authorities, private landlords, and tribal communities, to ensure that households and landlords participating in HUD’s federally-subsidized programs know the process for obtaining ERA, and that assistance is targeted to communities who need help the most.
The USDA is also committed to sharing ERA program information with rural communities. Within the USDA Multi-Family portfolio, there are approximately 65,000 tenants who do not receive rental assistance. Earlier this month, USDA sent letters to these tenants that included information on how to apply for the ERA program. Additionally, USDA has amplified the ERA program to over 250,000 online subscribers and rural leaders at the state and local level. USDA has also instructed Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Offices to share ERA program hard copy materials with rural residents.
In addition to the direct and indirect steps VA is taking to help Veterans who are experiencing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is providing a one-stop website to inform Veterans facing housing instability of the programs and resources across the federal government that are available to them.
The Administration has engaged in a whole-of-government approach – together with major nonprofits and companies – to amplify the availability of these resources. This effort has reached tens of millions of households to let them know that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a locater tool to help landlords and tenants find a program in their jurisdiction.
The delivery of ERA is ramping up as a result of these efforts and the hard work of public servants in state and local governments across the nation. A total of $1.5 billion in assistance was delivered to more than 290,000 renters in the month of June alone. But state and local governments must do better. Money is available in every state to help renters who are behind on rent and at risk of eviction, as well as landlords.
Our country and economy are in a stronger position now than they were in January 2021, yet households across the country, especially those that are not vaccinated, remain vulnerable to COVID-19 and its associated impacts, including housing insecurity. Helping our fellow Americans, including our Veterans, keep their homes will go a long way in making sure that they have one less thing to worry about as they rebuild their lives coming out of this crisis and try to keep their loved ones safe.
In moving remarks, President Joe Biden, only the first sitting president to acknowledge the Tulsa Race Massacre of 100 years ago, tackled systemic, institutional racism and laid out a plan for economic justice including improving access to homeownership (the most significant factor in family wealth), investments in minority-owned small businesses and disadvantaged communities, and said he would act to preserve voting rights. He pointed to the most significant threat against domestic tranquility – White Supremacy and the rise of domestic terrorists – drawing a line from the Tulsa Race Massacre a century ago and today, and tackled the latest assault by right-wingers to whitewash history, rather than take responsibility.
“We can’t just choose to learn what we want to know and not what we should know. We should know the good, the bad, everything. That’s what great nations do: They come to terms with their dark sides. And we’re a great nation. The only way to build a common ground is to truly repair and to rebuild”
“Only with truth can come healing and justice and repair.”
Biden said, “And there’s greater recognition that, for too long, we’ve allowed a narrowed, cramped view of the promise of this nation to fester — the view that America is a zero-sum game where there is only one winner. “If you succeed, I fail. If you get ahead, I fall behind. If you get a job, I lose mine.” And maybe worst of all, “If I hold you down, I lift myself up,” instead of “If you do well, we all do well.” (Applause.) We see that in Greenwood.
“This story isn’t about the loss of life, but a loss of living, of wealth and prosperity and possibilities that still reverberates today.”
He announced significant policies aimed at redressing generational discrimination:
“Today, we’re announcing two expanded efforts targeted toward Black wealth creation that will also help the entire community. The first is: My administration has launched an aggressive effort to combat racial discrimination in housing. That includes everything from redlining to the cruel fact that a home owned by a Black family is too often appraised at a lower value than a similar home owned by a white family…
“I’m going to increase the share of the dollars the federal government spends to small, disadvantaged businesses, including Black and brown small businesses” from 10 percent to 15 percent.
Biden laid out a plan to use infrastructure investments to specifically improve lives in historically disadvantaged communities.
Then the President turned to voting rights, which Congressman john Lewis called “precious,” “almost sacred”… “The most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society”.
Biden declared, “This sacred right is under assault with an incredible intensity like I’ve never seen.. It’s simply un-American. It is not, however, sadly, unprecedented,” and vowed to ”today, let me be unequivocal: we’re going to be ramping up our efforts to overcome again.” He said june would be a month of action, called upon voting rights groups to engage in voter registration campaigns and designated Vice President Kamala Harris as the point-person in his administration to get Congress to pass critical voting rights legislation, including the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
But returning to the Tulsa Massacre of 100 years ago, he said that violence resonates again in the rise of White Supremacy, Neo-Nazism, the resurrection of the KKK – the rise of hate crimes and terror against blacks, Asian-Americans, Jews – as was on display in Charlottesville NC that inspired Biden to run for president to “reclaim the soul of the nation.”
“Hate is never defeated; it only hides,” Biden declared. “And given a little bit of oxygen — just a little bit oxygen — by its leaders, it comes out of there from under the rock like it was happening again, as if it never went away. We must not give hate a safe harbor.”
“Terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today. Not ISIS, not al Qaeda — white supremacists” and promised to soon lay out “a broader strategy to counter domestic terrorism and the violence driven by the most heinous hate crimes and other forms of bigotry.”
Here is a highlighted transcript:
I just toured the Hall of Survivors here in Greenwood Cultural Center, and I want to thank the incredible staff for hosting us here. And — (applause) — I mean that sincerely. Thank you.
In the tour, I met Mother Randle, who’s only 56  years old. (Laughter.) God love her. And Mother Fletcher, who’s 67  years old. (Laughter.) And her brother — her brother, Van Ellis, who’s 100 years old. (Laughter.) And he looks like he’s 60. Thank you for spending so much time with me. I really mean it. It was a great honor. A genuine honor.
You are the three known remaining survivors of a story seen in the mirror dimly. But no longer. Now your story will be known in full view.
The events we speak of today took place 100 years ago. And yet, I’m the first President in 100 years ever to come to Tulsa — (applause) — I say that not as a compliment about me, but to think about it — a hundred years, and the first President to be here during that entire time, and in this place, in this ground, to acknowledge the truth of what took place here.
For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness. But just because history is silent, it doesn’t mean that it did not take place. And while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing. It erases nothing. Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous they can’t be buried, no matter how hard people try.
And so it is here. Only — only with truth can come healing and justice and repair. Only with truth, facing it. But that isn’t enough.
First, we have to see, hear, and give respect to Mother Randle, Mother Fletcher, and Mr. Van Ellis. (Applause.) To all those lost so many years ago, to all the descendants of those who suffered, to this community — that’s why we’re here: to shine a light, to make sure America knows the story in full.
May 1921: Formerly enslaved Black people and their descendants are here in Tulsa — a boom town of oil and opportunity in a new frontier.
On the north side, across the rail tracks that divided the city already segregated by law, they built something of their own, worthy — worthy of their talent and their ambition: Greenwood — a community, a way of life. Black doctors and lawyers, pastors, teachers; running hospitals, law practices, libraries, churches, schools.
Black veterans, like a man I had the privilege to giving a Command Coin to, who fought — volunteered and fought, and came home and still faced such prejudice. (Applause.) Veterans had been back a few years helping after winning the first World War, building a new life back home with pride and confidence, who were a mom-and — they were, at the time — mom-and-plack [sic] — mom-and-pop Black diners, grocery stores, barber shops, tailors — the things that make up a community.
At the Dreamland Theatre, a young Black couple, holding hands, falling in love. Friends gathered at music clubs and pool halls; at the Monroe family roller-skating rink. Visitors staying in hotels, like the Stradford.
All around, Black pride shared by the professional class and the working class who lived together, side by side, for blocks on end.
Mother Randle was just six years old — six years old — living with her grandmom. She said she was lucky to have a home and toys, and fortunate to live without fear.
Mother Fletcher was seven years old, the second of seven children. The youngest, being Mr. Van Ellis, was just a few months old. The children of former sharecroppers, when they went to bed at night in Greenwood, Mother Fletcher says they fell asleep rich in terms of the wealth — not real wealth, but a different wealth — a wealth in culture and community and heritage. (Applause.)
But one night — one night changed everything. Everything changed. While Greenwood was a community to itself, it was not separated from the outside.
It wasn’t everyone, but there was enough hate, resentment, and vengeance in the community. Enough people who believed that America does not belong to everyone and not everyone is created equal — Native Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Black Americans. A belief enforced by law, by badge, by hood and by noose.
And it speaks to that — lit the fuse. It lit it by the spark that it provided — a fuse of fury — was an innocent interaction that turned into a terrible, terrible headline allegation of a Black male teenager attacking a white female teenager.
A white mob of 1,000 gathered around the courthouse where the Black teenager was being held, ready to do what still occurred: lynch that young man that night. But 75 Black men, including Black veterans, arrived to stand guard.
Words were exchanged. Then a scuffle. Then shots fired. Hell was unleashed. Literal hell was unleashed.
Through the night and into the morning, the mob terrorized Greenwood. Torches and guns. Shooting at will. A mob tied a Black man by the waist to the back of their truck with his head banging along the pavement as they drove off. A murdered Black family draped over the fence of their home outside. An elderly couple, knelt by their bed, praying to God with their heart and their soul, when they were shot in the back of their heads.
Private planes — private planes — dropping explosives — the first and only domestic aerial assault of its kind on an American city here in Tulsa.
Eight of Greenwood’s nearly two dozen churches burned, like Mt. Zion — across the street, at Vernon AME.
Mother Randle said it was like war. Mother Fletcher says, all these years later, she still sees Black bodies around.
The Greenwood newspaper publisher A.J. Smitherman penned a poem of what he heard and felt that night. And here’s the poem. He said, “Kill them, burn them, set the pace… teach them how to keep their place. Reign of murder, theft, and plunder was the order of the night.” That’s what he remembered in the poem that he wrote.
One hundred years ago at this hour, on this first day of June, smoke darkened the Tulsa sky, rising from 35 blocks of Greenwood that were left in ash and ember, razed and in rubble.
In less than 24 hours, 1,100 Black homes and businesses were lost. Insurance companies — they had insurance, many of them — rejected claims of damage. Ten thousand people were left destitute and homeless, placed in internment camps.
As I was told today, they were told, “Don’t you mention you were ever in a camp or we’ll come and get you.” That’s what survivors told me.
Yet no one — no arrests of the mob were made. None. No proper accounting of the dead. The death toll records by local officials said there were 36 people. That’s all. Thirty-six people.
But based on studies, records, and accounts, the likelihood — the likely number is much more, in the multiple of hundreds. Untold bodies dumped into mass graves. Families who, at the time, waited for hours and days to know the fate of their loved ones are now descendants who have gone 100 years without closure.
But, you know, as we speak, the process — the process of exhuming the unmarked graves has started. And at this moment, I’d like to pause for a moment of silence for the fathers, the mothers, the sisters, sons, and daughters, friends of God and Greenwood. They deserve dignity, and they deserve our respect. May their souls rest in peace.
[Pause for a moment of silence.]
My fellow Americans, this was not a riot. This was a massacre — (applause) — among the worst in our history, but not the only one. And for too long, forgotten by our history.
As soon as it happened, there was a clear effort to erase it from our memory — our collective memories — from the news and everyday conversations. For a long time, schools in Tulsa didn’t even teach it, let alone schools elsewhere.
And most people didn’t realize that, a century ago, a second Ku Klux Klan had been founded — the second Ku Klux Klan had been founded.
A friend of mine, Jon Meacham — I had written — when I said I was running to restore the soul of America, he wrote a book called “The Soul of America” — not because of what I said. And there’s a picture about page 160 in his book, showing over 30,000 Ku Klux Klan members in full regalia, Reverend — pointed hats, the robes — marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Jesse, you know all about this. Washin- — Washington, D.C.
If my memory is correct, there were 37 members of the House of Representatives who were open members of the Klan. There were five, if I’m not mistaken — it could have been seven; I think it was five — members of the United States Senate — open members of the Klan. Multiple governors who were open members of the Klan.
Most people didn’t realize that, a century ago, the Klan was founded just six years before the horrific destruction here in Tulsa. And one of the reasons why it was founded was because of guys like me, who were Catholic. It wasn’t about African Americans, then; it was about making sure that all those Polish and Irish and Italian and Eastern European Catholics who came to the United States after World War One would not pollute Christianity.
The flames from those burning crosses torched every region — region of the country. Millions of white Americans belonged to the Klan, and they weren’t even embarrassed by it; they were proud of it.
And that hate became embedded systematically and systemically in our laws and our culture. We do ourselves no favors by pretending none of this ever happened or that it doesn’t impact us today, because it does still impact us today.
We can’t just choose to learn what we want to know and not what we should know. (Applause.) We should know the good, the bad, everything. That’s what great nations do: They come to terms with their dark sides. And we’re a great nation.
The only way to build a common ground is to truly repair and to rebuild. I come here to help fill the silence, because in silence, wounds deepen. (Applause.) And only — as painful as it is, only in remembrance do wounds heal. We just have to choose to remember.
We memorialize what happened here in Tulsa so it can be –so it can’t be erased. We know here, in this hallowed place, we simply can’t bury pain and trauma forever.
And at some point, there will be a reckoning, an inflection point, like we’re facing right now as a nation.
What many people hadn’t seen before or ha- — or simply refused to see cannot be ignored any longer. You see it in so many places.
And there’s greater recognition that, for too long, we’ve allowed a narrowed, cramped view of the promise of this nation to fester — the view that America is a zero-sum game where there is only one winner. “If you succeed, I fail. If you get ahead, I fall behind. If you get a job, I lose mine.” And maybe worst of all, “If I hold you down, I lift myself up,” instead of “If you do well, we all do well.” (Applause.) We see that in Greenwood.
This story isn’t about the loss of life, but a loss of living, of wealth and prosterity [prosperity] and possibilities that still reverberates today.
Mother Fletcher talks about how she was only able to attend school until the fourth grade and eventually found work in the shipyards, as a domestic worker.
Mr. Van Ellis has shared how, even after enlisting and serving in World War Two, he still came home to struggle with a segregated America.
Imagine all those hotels and dinners [diners] and mom-and-pop shops that could been — have been passed down this past hundred years. Imagine what could have been done for Black families in Greenwood: financial security and generational wealth.
If you come from backgrounds like my — my family — a working-class, middle-class family — the only way we were ever able to generate any wealth was in equity in our homes. Imagine what they contributed then and what they could’ve contributed all these years. Imagine a thriving Greenwood in North Tulsa for the last hundred years, what that would’ve meant for all of Tulsa, including the white community.
While the people of Greenwood rebuilt again in the years after the massacre, it didn’t last. Eventually neighborhoods were redlined on maps, locking Black Tulsa out of homeownerships. (Applause.) A highway was built right through the heart of the community. Lisa, I was talking about our west side — what 95 did to it after we were occupied by the military, after Dr. King was murdered. The community — cutting off Black families and businesses from jobs and opportunity. Chronic underinvestment from state and federal governments denied Greenwood even just a chance at rebuilding. (Applause.)
We must find the courage to change the things we know we can change. That’s what Vice President Harris and I are focused on, along with our entire administration, including our Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Marcia Fudge, who is here today. (Applause.)
Because today, we’re announcing two expanded efforts targeted toward Black wealth creation that will also help the entire community. The first is: My administration has launched an aggressive effort to combat racial discrimination in housing. That includes everything from redlining to the cruel fact that a home owned by a Black family is too often appraised at a lower value than a similar home owned by a white family. (Applause.)
And I might add — and I need help if you have an answer to this; I can’t figure this one out, Congressman Horsford. But if you live in a Black community and there’s another one on the other side of the highway — it’s a white community; it’s the — built by the same builder, and you have a better driving record than they guy with the same car in the white community, you’re — can pay more for your auto insurance.
Shockingly, the percentage of Black American homeownership is lower today in America than when the Fair Housing Act was passed more than 50 years ago. Lower today. That’s wrong. And we’re committing to changing that.
Just imagine if instead of denying millions of Americans the ability to own their own home and build generational wealth, we made it possible for them to buy a home and build equity into that — into that home and provide for their families.
Second, small businesses are the engines of our economy and the glue of our communities. As President, my administration oversees hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts for everything from refurbishing decks of aircraft carriers, to installing railings in federal buildings, to professional services.
We have a thing called — I won’t go into it all because there’s not enough time now. But I’m determined to use every taxpayer’s dollar that is assigned to me to spend, going to American companies and American workers to build American products. And as part of that, I’m going to increase the share of the dollars the federal government spends to small, disadvantaged businesses, including Black and brown small businesses.
Right now, it calls for 10 percent; I’m going to move that to 15 percent of every dollar spent will be spent (inaudible). (Applause.) I have the authority to do that.
Just imagine if, instead of denying millions of entrepreneurs the ability to access capital and contracting, we made it possible to take their dreams to the marketplace to create jobs and invest in our communities.
That — the data shows young Black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding, given the chance, as white entrepreneurs are. But they don’t have lawyers. They don’t have — they — they don’t have accountants, but they have great ideas.
Does anyone doubt this whole nation would be better off from the investments those people make? And I promise you, that’s why I set up the — a national Small Business Administration that’s much broader. Because they’re going to get those loans.
Instead of consigning millions of American children to under-resourced schools, let’s give each and every child, three and four years old, access to school — not daycare, school. (Applause.)
In the last 10 years, studies have been done by all the great universities. It shows that, if increased by 56 percent, the possibility of a child — no matter what background they come from; no matter what — if they start school at three years old, they have a 56 percent chance of going all through all 12 years without any trouble and being able to do well, and a chance to learn and grow and thrive in a school and throughout their lives.
And let’s unlock more than — an incredible creativity and innovation that will come from the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. (Applause.) I have a $5 billion program giving them the resources to invest in research centers and laboratories and high-demand fields to compete for the good-paying jobs in industries like — of the future, like cybersecurity.
The reason why they don’t — their — their students are equally able to learn as well, and get the good-paying job that start at 90- and 100,000 bucks. But they don’t have — they don’t have the back — they don’t have the money to provide and build those laboratories. So, guess what? They’re going to get the money to build those laboratories. (Applause.)
So, instead of just talking about infrastructure, let’s get about the business of actually rebuilding roads and highways, filling the sidewalks and cracks, installing streetlights and high-speed Internet, creating space — space to live and work and play safely.
Let’s ensure access to healthcare, clean water, clean air, nearby grocery stores — stock the fresh vegetables and food that — (applause) — in fact, deal with — I mean, these are all things we can do.
Does anyone doubt this whole nation would be better off with these investments? The rich will be just as well off. The middle class will do better, and everybody will do better. It’s about good-paying jobs, financial stability, and being able to build some generational wealth. It’s about economic growth for our country and outcompeting the rest of the world, which is now outcompeting us.
But just as fundamental as any of these investments I’ve discussed — this may be the most fundamental: the right to vote. (Applause.) The right to vote. (Applause.)
A lot of the members of the Black Caucus knew John Lewis better than I did, but I knew him. On his deathbed, like many, I called John, to speak to him. But all John wanted to do was talk about how I was doing. He died, I think, about 25 hours later.
But you know what John said? He called the right to vote “precious,” “almost sacred.” He said, “The most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society”.
This sacred right is under assault with an incredible intensity like I’ve never seen — even though I got started as a public defender and a civil rights lawyer — with an intensity and an aggressiveness that we have not seen in a long, long time.
It’s simply un-American. It is not, however, sadly, unprecedented. The creed “We Shall Overcome” is a longtime mainstay of the Civil Rights Movement, as Jesse Jackson can tell you better than anybody.
The obstacle to progress that have to be overcome are a constant challenge. We saw it in the ‘60s, but with the current assault, it’s not just an echo of a distant history.
In 2020, we faced a tireless assault on the right to vote: restrictive laws, lawsuits, threats of intimidation, voter purges, and more. We resolved to overcome it all, and we did. More Americans voted in the last election than any — in the midst of a pandemic — than any election in American history. (Applause.)
You got voters registered. You got voters to the polls. The rule of law held. Democracy prevailed. We overcame.
But today, let me be unequivocal: I’ve been engaged in this work my whole career, and we’re going to be ramping up our efforts to overcome again.
I will have more to say about this at a later date — the truly unprecedented assault on our democracy, an effort to replace nonpartisan election administrators and to intimidate those charged with tallying and reporting the election results.
But today, as for the act of voting itself, I urge voting rights groups in this country to begin to redouble their efforts now to register and educate voters. (Applause.)
June should be a month of action on Capitol Hill. I hear all the folks on TV saying, “Why doesn’t Biden get this done?” Well, because Biden only has a majority of, effectively, four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.
But we’re not giving up. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed For the People Act to protect our democracy. The Senate will take it up later this month, and I’m going to fight like heck with every tool at my disposal for its passage.
The House is also working on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which is — which is critical — (applause) — to providing new legal tools to combat the new assault on the right to vote.
To signify the importance of our efforts, today I’masking Vice President Harris to help these efforts and lead them, among her many other responsibilities.
With her leadership and your support, we’re going to overcome again, I promise you. But it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work. (Applause.)
And finally, we have to — and finally, we must address what remains the stain on the soul of America. What happened in Greenwood was an act of hate and domestic terrorism with a through line that exists today still.
Just close your eyes and remember what you saw in Charlottesville four years ago on television. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK coming out of those fields at night in Virginia with lighted torches — the veins bulging on their — as they were screaming. Remember? Just close your eyes and picture what it was.
Well, Mother Fletcher said when she saw the insurrection at the Capitol on January the 9th [6th], it broke her heart — a mob of violent white extremists — thugs. Said it reminded her what happened here in Greenwood 100 years ago.
Look around at the various hate crimes against Asian Americans and Jewish Americans. Hate that never goes away. Hate only hides.
Jesse, I think I mentioned this to you. I thought, after you guys pushed through, with Dr. King, the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act — I thought we moved. But what I didn’t realize — I thought we had made enormous progress, and I was so proud to be a little part of it.
But you know what, Rev? I didn’t realize hate is never defeated; it only hides. It hides. And given a little bit of oxygen — just a little bit oxygen — by its leaders, it comes out of there from under the rock like it was happening again, as if it never went away.
And so, folks, we can’t — we must not give hate a safe harbor.
As I said in my address to the joint session of Congress: According to the intelligence community, terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today. Not ISIS, not al Qaeda — white supremacists. (Applause.) That’s not me; that’s the intelligence community under both Trump and under my administration.
Two weeks ago, I signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which the House had passed and the Senate. My administration will soon lay out our broader strategy to counter domestic terrorism and the violence driven by the most heinous hate crimes and other forms of bigotry.
But I’m going to close where I started. To Mother Randle, Mother Fletcher, Mr. Van Ellis, to the descendants, and to all survivors: Thank you. Thank you for giving me the honor of being able to spend some time with you earlier today. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your commitment. And thank your children, and your grandchildren, and your unc- — and your nieces and your nephews.
To see and learn from you is a gift — a genuine gift. Dr. John Hope Franklin, one of America’s greatest historians — Tulsa’s proud son, whose father was a Greenwood survivor — said, and I quote, “Whatever you do, it must be done in the spirit of goodwill and mutual respect and even love. How else can we overcome the past and be worthy of our forebearers and face the future with confidence and with hope?”
On this sacred and solemn day, may we find that distinctly Greenwood spirit that defines the American spirit — the spirit that gives me so much confidence and hope for the future; that helps us see, face to face; a spirit that helps us know fully who we are and who we can be as a people and as a nation.
I’ve never been more optimistic about the future than I am today. I mean that. And the reason is because of this new generation of young people. They’re the best educated, they’re the least prejudiced, the most open generation in American history.
And although I have no scientific basis of what I’m about to say, but those of you who are over 50 — how often did you ever see — how often did you ever see advertisements on television with Black and white couples? Not a joke.
I challenge you — find today, when you turn on the stations — sit on one station for two hours. And I don’t know how many commercials you’ll see — eight to five — two to three out of five have mixed-race couples in them. That’s not by accident. They’re selling soap, man. (Laughter.) Not a joke.
Remember ol’ Pat Caddell? He used to say, “You want to know what’s happening in American culture? Watch advertising, because they want to sell what they have.”
We have hope in folks like you, honey. I really mean it. We have hope. But we’ve got to give them support. We have got to give them the backbone to do what we know has to be done. Because I doubt whether any of you would be here if you didn’t care deeply about this. You sure in the devil didn’t come to hear me speak. (Laughter.)
But I really mean it. I really mean it. Let’s not give up, man. Let’s not give up.
As the old saying goes, “Hope springs eternal.” I know we’ve talked a lot about famous people, but I’m — my colleagues in the Senate used to kid me because I was always quoting Irish poets. They think I did it because I’m Irish. They think I did it because we Irish — we have a little chip on our shoulder. A little bit, sometimes.
That’s not why I did it; I did it because they’re the best poets in the world. (Laughter.) You can smile, it’s okay. It’s true.
There was a famous poet who wrote a poem called “The Cure at Troy” — Seamus Heaney. And there is a stanza in it that I think is the definition of what I think should be our call today for young people.
It said, “History teaches us not to hope on this side of the grave, but then, once in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice rises up, and hope and history rhyme.”
Here’s what a functioning, responsive government looks like. This is detail on the Biden administration’s multi-agency effort to support renters and landlords from the White House:
Today’s action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to extend the federal eviction moratorium represents the latest effort to provide relief to renters and landlords.
Following today’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a 90-day extension of the federal eviction moratorium, the Biden-Harris Administration is continuing its efforts to support tenants and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal agencies including the Treasury Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are coordinating efforts to get tenants and landlords the assistance they need during the public health crisis.
President Biden entered office facing twin crises of historic proportions: a global pandemic and an economic downturn that left 10 million people out of work and one in five renters behind on rent. On January 29th, just days after President Biden entered office, the CDC extended the existing eviction moratorium through the end of March, recognizing the historic threat to our nation’s health. Alongside the extension, the Administration continued to seek relief for struggling Americans. $25 billion had been allocated to rental assistance under the CARES Act, and the Biden-Harris Administration worked quickly to streamline and simplify the rules to access funding. The American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Biden, will deliver an additional $21.5 billion in emergency rental assistance to help millions of families keep up on rent and remain in their homes.
President Biden remains committed to implementing a whole-of-government approach to addressing the nation’s housing challenges. The White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator is working across agencies and with White House offices to implement the American Rescue Plan’s housing provisions. And, Treasury, HUD, USDA, CFPB and the FTC are upholding that commitment through the following actions to maximize the impact of the extension and additional funding in the American Rescue Plan:
The Treasury Department is in the process of delivering $1,400 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to approximately 85% of American households, including those who may be behind on rent or at threat of eviction. More than 100 million EIPs have already been delivered.
The Treasury Department continues to administer the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the passage of the ARP, an additional $21.5 billion is available, almost doubling in size the scale and reach of this program and providing greater relief to our most vulnerable households.
Rental assistance is being distributed by the Treasury Department to state and local grantees. Renters and landlords seeking access to rental assistance should apply directly to the local program in their area. More information on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, including eligibility requirements, can be found here.
The Treasury Department recently updated guidance on the ERAP, providing grantees greater flexibility in determining renter eligibility.
The Treasury Department is administering funding to cover costs borne by state and local governments that have stepped in during the crisis to provide housing assistance and relief to Americans across the country. These critical measures taken to blunt the impacts of the economic fallout from the pandemic will no longer be a strain on the balance sheets of American municipalities.
HUD will reach out to HUD grantees, including tens of thousands of local governments and housing providers, and other program participants to communicate about the eviction moratorium extension and will offer guidance and support where needed.
HUD will continue to coordinate across federal agencies to efficiently implement emergency rental assistance programs that prevent evictions and ensure financial stability of renters and rental properties (including programs from HUD, Treasury, and HHS’s Administration for Children and Families).
HUD will continue to support CDC in developing strategies for monitoring and evaluating the impacts of the eviction moratorium.
HUD will continue its responsibilities in upholding the Fair Housing Act and will monitor and address circumstances where landlords are evicting tenants because of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, familial status, or national origin. If tenants feel like they have experienced discriminatory treatment, they can contact HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Tenants can also file discrimination complaints online at hud.gov/fairhousing.
USDA will send a notice to 7,000 property owners in its multifamily portfolio to inform them of their obligations under the extended CDC Eviction Moratorium. USDA will also require property owners to post the extension at their properties along with a template of the original moratorium letters. These actions follow USDA’s outreach to 400,000 tenants to share information on the protections provided under the CDC Eviction Moratorium as well as information on how to access the U.S Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).
The CFPB is taking complaints from tenants about problems with debt collectors, including attorneys seeking to evict tenants in violation of the CDC eviction moratorium. Consumers can submit a complaint at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ or by calling (855) 411-2372
The CFPB will monitor and investigate eviction practices to ensure that companies are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate the law.
The FTC will be monitoring and investigating eviction practices to ensure that companies are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate the law.
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, calls out Trump and the Republicans for sitting by as 20 million Americans who have lost their jobs as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, now face eviction from their apartments, foreclosure from their homes (Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made a fortune foreclosing on people in the 2008 Great Recession). The impacts of this collapse of family finances will follow for the rest of their lives, effectively canceling out the American Dream, if families can survive at all. I would submit what seems “merely”callous and indifferent to the suffering of so many is intentional. It is yet another tool in the Trump and Republicans’ campaign to suppress votes by likely Democratic voters – the more misery the better, but also, these voters can be challenged at the polls as no longer living where they were registered and unable to receive a vote-by-mail.
In contrast, Trump has elevated housing – fair housing – into another bullhorn call-out to his base. Just as he has done to sabotage Obamacare in the midst of a pandemic, he has rolled back an Obama-era rule – Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing — that required local governments provide fair housing in order to receive federal housing funds. Trump tweet-gloated, not even bothering to code his meaning about who he was appealing to and why: “I am happy to inform all the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built inyour neighborhood…Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!”
This is a statement from Vice President Biden on what a functioning federal response to such widespread homelessness should be: pass an emergency housing relief package –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Today is the first day of another month where rent and mortgage payments are due for millions of Americans who are already living on the edge. It comes a day after President Trump and Leader McConnell sent the Senate home for the weekend and allowed enhanced unemployment insurance, which millions of families have been using to pay their rent and bills, to lapse. And, the day after, we found out the last three months have been the worst period for our economy in recorded history. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses have shut their doors, with minority entrepreneurs especially hard hit. More than 30 million Americans are struggling to get by as their unemployment benefits are about to get sharply cut. Over the next two months, with no federal eviction moratorium in place, as many as 20 million families could find themselves out in the street without a safe place to live.
Because Donald Trump is abdicating his responsibility to lead us out of the pandemic crisis and the economic crisis, we now face a potential housing crisis across the country.
To prevent a catastrophic rise in evictions and homelessness, President Trump must work with Congress to act swiftly and enact a broad emergency housing support program for renters, just as we would in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Such a step would get help out quickly and at scale so that millions of people aren’t evicted or forced to choose between rent and food. Congress must also provide emergency unemployment benefits, greater access to food and nutrition programs, and full subsidies to allow families to keep their health insurance, so that the loss of one family member’s job doesn’t push the family into foreclosure and on the streets. This legislation must also include the fiscal relief necessary so state and local governments can keep on payroll the first responders, public school educators, and other public servants who ensure our cities and towns are clean, safe, and running.
Combined, these steps could put the nation in a much stronger position to handle the strain the virus is putting on millions of Americans and our entire economy. They are among many others we must take.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Vice President Joe Biden has released his plan for investing in communities through housing, “a right, not a privilege.” This is from the Biden Campaign:
Joe Biden is running for President to rebuild the middle class and ensure that this time everyone comes along. He believes the middle class isn’t a number, but a value set which includes the ability to own your own home and live in a safe community. Housing should be a right, not a privilege.
Today, however, far too many Americans lack access to affordable and quality housing. Nationwide, we have a shortage of available, affordable housing units for low-income individuals. Tens of millions of Americans spend more than 30% of their income on housing – leaving them with nowhere near enough money left over to meet other needs, from groceries to prescription drugs. And, tens of millions of Americans live in homes that endanger their health and safety.
Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the failures in our housing markets, with homeownership rates for Black and Latino individuals falling far below the rate for white individuals. Because home ownership is how many families save and build wealth, these racial disparities in home ownership contribute to the racial wealth gap. It is far past time to put an end to systemic housing discrimination and other contributors to this disparity.
As President, Joe Biden will invest $640 billion over 10 years so every American has access to housing that is affordable, stable, safe and healthy, accessible, energy efficient and resilient, and located near good schools and with a reasonable commute to their jobs. Biden will do this by:
Ending redlining and other discriminatory and unfair
practices in the housing market.
Providing financial assistance to help hard-working
Americans buy or rent safe, quality housing, including down payment assistance
through a refundable and advanceable tax credit and fully funding federal
Increasing the supply, lowering the cost, and improving the
quality of housing, including through investments in resilience, energy
efficiency, and accessibility of homes.
Pursuing a comprehensive approach to ending
While the housing challenges Americans face in different rural and urban
communities across the country may vary, every American in every zip code
should have access to housing that is:
affordable – taking up no more than 30% of income so
they have money left over to meet other needs;
stable – providing families with the
consistency they need to maintain jobs, perform well in
school, and develop social networks necessary for well-being;
safe and healthy – protecting families from
environmental and social risks from polluted air to lead contamination to gun
accessible – meeting the needs of individuals
with disabilities so they can live in their communities;
energy efficient and resilient – reducing our greenhouse
gas emissions and withstanding the impacts of climate change; and
located near good schools and with a reasonable commute
to their jobs.
END REDLINING AND OTHER DISCRIMINATORY AND UNFAIR PRACTICES IN THE
Protect homeowners and renters from abusive lenders and
landlords through a new Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights. Modeled
on the California Homeowner Bill of Rights,
Biden will enact legislation to end many shortcomings in the mortgage and
rental markets. This new Bill of Rights will prevent mortgage brokers from
leading borrowers into loans that cost more than appropriate, prevent mortgage
servicers from advancing a foreclosure when the homeowner is in the process of
receiving a loan modification, give homeowners a private right of action to
seek financial redress from mortgage lenders and servicers that violate these
protections, and give borrowers the right to a timely notification on the
status of their loan modifications and to be able to appeal modification
denials. Building on the Obama-Biden Administration’s Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure
Act, the Bill of Rights will also expand protections for renters.
For example, the Bill of Rights will include a law prohibiting
landlords from discriminating against renters receiving federal housing
Protect tenants from eviction. Housing evictions
can have devastating consequences for families and often stem from
relatively small shortfalls in
rent. As a former public defender, Biden appreciates the difference legal
representation can make for those facing eviction. As President, he will work
to enact Majority Whip James E. Clyburn and Senator Michael Bennet’s Legal Assistance to Prevent
Evictions Act of 2020, which will help tenants facing eviction
access legal assistance. He also will encourage localities to create eviction
diversion programs, including mediation, payment plans, and financial literacy
Eliminate local and state housing regulations that
perpetuate discrimination. Exclusionary zoning has for decades been
strategically used to keep people of color and low-income families out of
certain communities. As President, Biden will enact legislation requiring any
state receiving federal dollars through the Community Development Block Grants
or Surface Transportation Block Grants to develop a strategy for inclusionary
zoning, as proposed in the HOME Act of 2019 by
Majority Whip Clyburn and Senator Cory Booker. Biden will also invest $300
million in Local Housing Policy Grants to
give states and localities the technical assistance and planning support they
need to eliminate exclusionary zoning policies and other local regulations that
contribute to sprawl.
Hold financial institutions accountable for
discriminatory practices in the housing market. The Obama-Biden
Administration held major national financial institutions accountable for
discriminatory lending practices, securing hundreds of millions of dollars in
settlements to help borrowers who had been harmed by their practices. And in
2013, the Obama-Biden Administration codified a
long-standing, court-supported view that lending practices that have a
discriminatory effect can be challenged even if discrimination was not
explicit. But now the Trump Administration is seeking to gut this
disparate impact standard by significantly increasing the burden of proof for
those claiming discrimination. In the Biden Administration, this change will be
reversed to ensure financial institutions are held accountable for serving all
Strengthen and expand the Community Reinvestment Act to
ensure that our nation’s bank and non-bank financial services institutions are
serving all communities. The Community Reinvestment Act currently
regulates banks, but does little to ensure that “fintechs” and non-bank lenders
are providing responsible access to all members of the community. On top of
that gap, the Trump Administration is proposing to weaken the law by
allowing lenders to receive a passing rating even if the lenders are excluding
many neighborhoods and borrowers. Biden will expand the Community
Reinvestment Act to apply to mortgage and insurance companies, to add a
requirement for financial services institutions to provide a statement
outlining their commitment to the public interest, and, importantly, to close
loopholes that would allow these institutions to avoid lending and investing in
all of the communities they serve.
Roll back Trump Administration policies gutting fair
lending and fair housing protections for homeowners. Biden will
implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair
Housing Rule requiring communities receiving certain federal
funding to proactively examine housing patterns and identify and address
policies that have a discriminatory effect. The Trump Administration suspended this rule
in 2018. Biden will ensure effective and rigorous enforcement of the Fair
Housing Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. And, he will reinstate the
federal risk-sharing program which
has helped secure financing for thousands of
affordable rental housing units in partnership with housing finance
Restore the federal government’s power to enforce
settlements against discriminatory lenders. The Trump Administration
has stripped the Office of Fair Lending
and Equal Opportunity, a division of the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, of its power to enforce settlements against lenders found to
have discriminated against borrowers – for example by charging significantly
higher interest rates for people of color than white individuals. Biden will
return power to the division so it can protect consumers from discrimination.
Tackle racial bias that leads to homes in communities of
color being assessed by appraisers below their fair value. Housing in
communities primarily comprised of people of color is valued at tens of thousands of dollars below
majority-white communities even when all other factors are the same,
contributing to the racial wealth gap. To counteract this racial bias, Biden
will establish a national standard for housing appraisals that ensures
appraisers have adequate training and a full appreciation for neighborhoods and
do not hold implicit biases because of a lack of community understanding. An
objective national standard for appraisals will also make it harder for
financial institutions to put pressure on appraisers to their benefit.
PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO HELP HARD-WORKING
AMERICANS BUY OR RENT QUALITY HOUSING
Help families buy their first homes and build wealth by
creating a new refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000. Biden’s
new First Down Payment Tax Credit will help families offset the costs of
homebuying and help millions of families lay down roots for the first time.
Building off of a temporary tax credit expanded
as part of the Recovery Act, this tax credit will be permanent and advanceable,
meaning that homebuyers receive the tax credit when they make the purchase
instead of waiting to receive the assistance when they file taxes the following
ProvideSection 8 housing vouchers to
every eligible family so that no one has to pay more than 30% of their income
for rental housing. Roughly three in four households eligible for
Section 8 rental assistance do not receive housing assistance because the
program is underfunded. Biden’s approach is straightforward: the Section 8
rental housing assistance program should be fully funded so that everyone
eligible gets the assistance they need to pay their rent for a safe home. Biden
will devote resources to both voucher-based rental assistance and the
project-based program. Over time, this approach will provide assistance to
at least 17 million low-income
families. And, as part of the Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights, Biden will
enact a law prohibiting
landlords from discriminating against renters receiving federal housing
Create a new renter’s tax credit to help more low-income
families. Biden will work with Congress to enact a new renter’s tax credit,
designed to reduce rent and utilities to 30% of income for low-income
individuals and families who may make too much money to qualify for a Section 8
voucher but still struggle to pay their rent. He will allocate $5 billion in
federal funding for the tax credit every year.
Expand housing benefits for first-responders, public
school educators, and other public and national service workers who commit to
living in persistently impoverished communities or who work in neighborhoods
with low affordable housing stock. Biden will expand the Good Neighbor Next Door program,
which is designed to help strengthen communities that have experienced
significant underinvestment and high rates of poverty while also providing
opportunities for first responders, educators, and those engaged in national
service to purchase homes in those same communities. Specifically, Biden will
expand the program through additional down-payment assistance, partnering with
state housing agencies, tribal governments, local governments, and state/local
banks to offer the program’s existing significant discount on the price of a
home on a larger pool of homes, and providing access to a low-interest loan to
rehabilitate these homes. And, he will ensure these resources are also
available to public servants who work in neighborhoods with low affordable
Create the Public Credit Reporting Agency. Being
able to obtain a credit report is a critical step for homeownership. But today
credit reports, which are issued by just three large private companies, are
rife with problems: they often contain errors, they leave many “credit invisible” due to the
sources used to generate a credit score, and they contribute to racial disparities.
Biden will create a new public credit reporting agency within the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau to provide consumers with a government option that
seeks to minimize racial disparities, for example by ensuring the algorithms
used for credit scoring don’t have a discriminatory impact, and by accepting
non-traditional sources of data like rental history and utility bills to
Reducing Greenhouse Gases and Lowering Working
Families’ Electricity Bills
As Biden announced in his climate plan, he will set a target of reducing the
carbon footprint of the U.S. building stock 50% by 2035, creating incentives
for deep retrofits that combine appliance electrification, efficiency, and
on-site clean power generation. In addition to the $10 billion retrofitting fund
described below, other policies he will pursue to reduce the carbon footprint
of residential buildings include:
Directing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development to make housing for low-income communities more efficient.
Directing the U.S. Department of Energy to redouble
efforts to accelerate new efficiency standards for household appliances and
Repairing and accelerating the building code process, and
creating a new funding mechanism for states and cities to adopt strict
building codes and train builders and inspectors.
Read Biden’s full plan to address the climate
emergency at joebiden.com/climate.
INCREASE THE SUPPLY, LOWER THE COST, AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF
Establish a $100 billion Affordable Housing Fund to
construct and upgrade affordable housing.
$65 billion in new incentives for state housing
authorities and the Indian Housing Block Grant program to construct or
rehabilitate low-cost, efficient, resilient, and accessible housing in areas
where affordable housing is in short supply. These funds will be
directed toward communities that are suffering from an affordability crisis and
that are willing to implement new zoning laws that encourage more affordable
$10 billion to make homes more energy efficient. This
retrofitting will lower families’ energy bills, create jobs for workers in the
trades in every state in the nation, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
$5 billion to increase the stock of affordable housing as
part of larger community development efforts. Specifically, these
funds will expand the HOME program, ensuring
that the program’s requirements are more conducive to supporting first-time
homebuyers, and the Capital Magnet Fund,
which spurs private investment in affordable housing and economic development
in distressed communities. Among other uses, localities can use these funds to
purchase vacant, underdeveloped, or underutilized property and construct
Increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund by
$20 billion. Biden will increase the availability of affordable
housing through the Housing Trust Fund, paid for by an increase in the
assessment on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These additional dollars will support
the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing units.
Provide tax incentives for the construction of more affordable
housing in communities that need it most. As President, Biden will
expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit –
a tax provision designed to incentivize the construction or rehabilitation of
affordable housing for low-income tenants that has created nearly 3 million affordable
housing units since the mid-1980s – with a $10 billion investment.
This investment will be designed to make the credit more efficient,
dramatically increasing the number of new or rehabilitated affordable housing
units. And, he will ensure that urban, suburban, and rural areas all benefit
from the credit. Biden will also invest in the development and rehabilitation
of single family homes across distressed urban, suburban, and rural
neighborhoods through the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act.
Invest in community development. In addition to
the community development Biden is proposing as part of his infrastructure initiative,
he will also expand flexible funding for the Community Development Block Grant
by $10 billion over ten years. The Community Development Block Grant funds
local efforts to expand affordable housing, improve infrastructure, and
increase economic opportunities for low-income individuals and communities.
These funds are flexible federal grants that localities receive to deal with
their specific challenges and support stabilization and infrastructure.
Eliminate local and state housing regulations that limit
affordable housing options and contribute to urban sprawl. Housing
policy can be used as a tool to battle climate change. Many lower- and
middle-income Americans are forced to live far away from job centers due to
high housing costs, leading not only to workers being overburdened by long
commutes and transportation costs, but also to higher greenhouse gas emissions.
Biden will tie new federal investments in housing to a requirement that states
and localities eliminate regulations that reduce the availability of affordable
housing and contribute to sprawl. He will direct his Secretaries of Housing and
Urban Development and Transportation to identify existing federal grant
programs that can be amended by adding zoning reform as a requirement. And,
Biden will expand investments in Local Housing Policy Grants to
give states and localities the technical assistance and planning support they
need to modernize housing regulations.
Ensure minority-owned businesses benefit from investment
in housing construction and repair. To further support wealth creation
among Black and Latino families, Biden will require his Administration to take
all available steps to make sure minority-owned businesses are able to benefit
from ongoing and new federal housing and infrastructure spending.
Use federal transit dollars to leverage local
investment in transit and affordable housing
Smart transit and regional planning policies are essential for ensuring
access to affordable housing, avoiding sprawl, improving quality of life by
reducing the distance between living and leisure areas, and mitigating
climate change. To meet these goals, Biden will ensure a portion of new
federal transit dollars are designed to leverage local investment in both
transit and affordable housing in transit corridors. Biden has proposed the
following new transit investments:
Offer tens of millions of Americans new transportation
options. Outside major cities, most Americans do
not have access to high-quality, reliable public transportation; and within
urban areas, it’s often in need of repair. As a result, workers and families
rely on cars, which can be a big financial burden, clog roadways, and –
along with light-duty trucks – significantly increase U.S. greenhouse gas
emissions. As President, Biden will aim to provide all Americans in
municipalities of more than 100,000 people with quality public transportation
by 2030. To that end, he’ll increase flexible federal investments, helping
cities and towns to install light rail networks and to improve existing
transit and bus lines. He’ll also help them to invest in infrastructure for
pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of e-scooters and other micro-mobility
vehicles. And, Biden will work to make sure that new, fast-growing areas are
designed and built with public transit in mind. Specifically, he will create
a new program that gives rapidly expanding communities the resources to build
in public transit options from the start.
Reduce congestion by working with metropolitan regions
to plan smarter growth. Biden will empower city, county, regional,
and state leaders to explore new, smarter, climate-friendly strategies to
help reduce average commute times and build more vibrant main streets.
Specifically, Biden will create a competitive grant program to help leaders
rethink and redesign regional transportation systems, to get commuters where
they are going safer, faster, and more efficiently. At the same time, Biden
will boost highway funding by 10% and allocate the new funding to states that
embrace smart climate design and pollution reduction, incentivizing them to
invest in greenhouse gas reduction. States will also be free to use existing
highway funding for alternative transportation options.
Connect workers to jobs. For too many
low-income workers, the cost of transportation and time it takes them to
commute to work every day are significant barriers. As President, Biden will
dedicate an additional $10 billion over 10 years specifically for transit
projects that serve high-poverty areas with limited transportation options,
so that workers seeking a better life won’t have to spend as much getting to
Read Biden’s full infrastructure plan at joebiden.com/infrastructure.
Ensure rural communities have access to affordable and
accessible homes. The Biden Administration will increase funding for
needed repairs of affordable rental housing properties and construction of new
property through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service,
including the Multi-Family Direct Loans and
the Single Family Direct Loans programs, which
support the construction of housing for low income, disabled, or elderly
individuals in rural communities. Majority Whip Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan has already
been applied to a number of Rural Development programs in order to ensure a
portion of funds are dedicated to serving families living in areas facing
persistent poverty. As President, Biden will apply the
10-20-30 plan to all federal programs.
Expand funding for mission-driven, community-based
financial institutions that invest in building new housing in underserved
areas. As part of his plan to reinvest in communities across the
country, including in rural areas, Biden will expand funding for the Community Development Financial
Institutions Fund, which supports local, “mission-driven” financial
institutions in low-income areas around the U.S. – including those invested in
building new housing in underserved areas.
Drive additional capital into low-income communities to
spur the development of low-income housing. The New Markets Tax Credit
has drawn in $8 of private investment for every
$1 of federal investment in low-income communities by providing
tax credits to investors in community development organizations that support
everything from supermarkets to real estate projects to manufacturing
plants. Biden will expand the program
to provide $5 billion in support every year, and will make the program
permanent so communities can take the credit into account in their long-term
For all of these new housing
investments, those receiving assistance will be required to abide by
Davis-Bacon Act wage requirements so that jobs created with these investments
support family sustaining wages and benefits. And, the Biden Administration
will encourage the use of resources and materials that are sourced domestically,
as well as the use of project labor agreements.
Guarantee safe housing for our military families
The government has broken its trust with military families by providing
sub-par housing. Now, we have to work twice as hard to rebuild this trust.
That will require the utmost transparency and accountability from both the
government and the private sector partners charged with housing the families
of our service members. The Biden Administration will:
Enforce a comprehensive and standardized tenant Bill of
Rights for all military families, and as advocates have rightly demanded,
ensure U.S. Department of Defense senior leadership enforces compliance. We
won’t be making more empty promises to military families. We will hold these
landlords, and ourselves, accountable.
Require regular, standardized, objective, and published
reporting of military family satisfaction and concerns from all housing.
Establish a public-facing document outlining expectations
of quality and consequences for all housing providers and, when necessary,
terminate long-term leases held by private companies.
Read Biden’s full plan for military families at joebiden.com/militaryfamilies.
PURSUE A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO ENDING HOMELESSNESS
Develop a national strategy for making housing a right
for all. Biden believes everyone should have the right to a safe roof
over their head. On the first day of his Administration, he will direct his Secretary
of Housing and Urban Development to lead a task force of mayors and other local
elected officials to put on his desk within 100 days a roadmap for making this
right a reality nationwide. Mayors and local elected officials are on the front
lines of tackling homelessness, so Biden will use their expertise to help the
federal government identify best practices that should be replicated across the
Provide emergency funding designed to tackle the
homelessness crisis. Biden will work with Congress to secure passage
of Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ Ending Homelessness Act.
This bill funds a comprehensive, holistic strategy to ending homelessness,
including everything from case management to emergency shelters to additional
housing vouchers for homeless individuals. In total, this law will invest $13
billion to tackle homelessness over five years, including $5 billion for
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, and the law will create more than 400,000 additional
housing units for homeless individuals. In addition, Biden will ensure part of
this grant funding is specifically targeted to assist homeless children and
Reduce homelessness among veterans. The
Obama-Biden Administration cut the population of homeless
veterans by almost half. But with just over 23,000 veterans without shelter on
any given night, we have much more work to do. Biden will work with
Congress to continue to drive down veteran homelessness by permanently
authorizing the Supportive Services for Veterans Families program, which
provides critical funding for wrap-around services for those facing
homelessness. President Biden will also work to ensure that we better
understand the unique needs of women and LGBTQ veterans experiencing
homelessness. And, he will create safe, modern, clean, and recovery-oriented
housing for veterans being treated for substance use disorders and those who
are homeless by refurbishing buildings condemned or not in use, such as the
massive VA Los Angeles campus. Read Biden’s full plan to support our
veterans at joebiden.com/veterans.
Protect LGBTQ individuals. The Obama-Biden
Administration enforced the civil rights of the LGBTQ community, including by
ensuring federally funded homeless shelters provide housing according to an individual’s gender
identity and cannot refuse services based
on gender identity or sexual orientation. The Trump Administration has
since proposed allowing shelters to discriminate against transgender people
when determining their accommodations, for example by forcing transgender women
to sleep and use the bathroom in the same place as men. As President, Biden
will secure the passage of the Equality Act, ensuring
that no President can ever again single-handedly roll back civil rights
protections for LGBTQ individuals, including in housing and homeless shelters.
And, he will increase funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to
ensure LGBTQ individuals have access to transitional living programs that
provide essential services like job counseling and mental and physical health
Expand access to supportive housing and services for
individuals with disabilities and the elderly. A Biden Administration
will increase the availability of supportive and accessible housing for seniors
and individuals with disabilities, including through the Supportive Housing for
the Elderly (“Section 202”) and
Supportive Housing for Individuals with Disabilities (“Section 811”) programs.
Biden also will increase resources for mental health services and substance use
disorder treatment, including through the Projects for Assistance in
Transition from Homelessness program.
Set a national goal of ensuring 100% of formerly
incarcerated individuals have housing upon reentry. If incarcerated
individuals do not find housing upon reentry, that lack of housing can be
completely destabilizing and limit their likelihood of successfully staying out
of the criminal justice system and fulfilling their potential. Biden will work
toward a goal of ensuring 100% of formerly incarcerated individuals – at the
federal and state level – have housing upon release. He’ll start by eliminating
barriers keeping formerly incarcerated individuals from accessing public
assistance, including housing support. He’ll direct the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development to only contract with entities that are open to
housing individuals looking for a second chance. And, he’ll expand funding for transitional
housing, which has been drastically cut under
the Trump Administration.
Ensure survivors of domestic and sexual violence have
safe, affordable housing
Biden has put forward a comprehensive plan to strengthen social supports for
survivors of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking, including
helping victims secure housing, gain economic stability, and recover from the
trauma of abuse. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has identified domestic
violence as a top driver of family homelessness, and research points
to domestic violence as a key cause of homelessness for many women. And,
domestic violence survivors and their children often live in unstable housing
conditions, such as with relatives or friends in crowded and potentially
exploitative conditions or returning to abusive partners. Research demonstrates
that providing flexibility in eligibility, services, and support helps
survivors feel safer and rebuild their lives after violence.
The Biden plan will cut through the red tape that can slow down assistance
and limit options for survivors. Specifically, Biden will:
Establish a new coordinated housing initiative. Current
federal housing programs are insufficient for meeting the needs of domestic
and sexual violence survivors. Biden will bring federal agencies together to
create a comprehensive housing grant program tailored to survivors of
domestic and sexual violence. This grant program will include flexible
funding to support the practical needs of survivors; advocacy with landlords
and housing agencies to keep victims in housing; supportive services
including legal assistance, child care, and employment training; new
permanent housing vouchers; increased funding for the VAWA transitional
housing program; and home ownership opportunities.
Expand access to housing assistance. Biden
will strengthen the VAWA housing provisions, for example by making it easier for
victims to retain their federal housing subsidy when needed for safety
Protect survivors from housing discrimination. The Fair Housing Act protects
women from gender discrimination in public and private housing, including
survivors who may be unfairly evicted from housing because of domestic
violence. The Trump Administration proposed rolling
back Fair Housing protections by making it harder to prove disparate impact
claims and allowing landlords and banks to use discriminatory practices. The
Biden Administration will vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act. VAWA also
protects survivors from discrimination in subsidized housing and allows
survivors to transfer to new units if necessary for safety. But red tape
makes these provisions challenging to implement. The Biden plan will make it
easier for survivors to transfer their housing assistance and move to a new
home so that they can be safe.
Read Biden’s full plan to end violence against women at joebiden.com/VAWA.
Investing In Our Housing to Grow the Middle Class, Paid for by Making
Sure Corporations Pay Their Fair Share
Biden’s $640 billion investment in America’s housing is paid for by raising
taxes on corporations and large financial institutions. Specifically,
approximately $300 billion of the housing plan is devoted to new construction
and is encompassed in the $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan. The remaining
portion is paid for by instituting a financial fee on certain liabilities of
firms with over $50 billion in assets.
The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders released hisHousing for All” plan. This
is a summary from the Sanders campaign:
– U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled hisHousing for All plan, a bold proposal to guarantee every American – regardless of
income – a fundamental right to a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home.
“There is virtually no place in America where
a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a decent two bedroom apartment. At a
time when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, this is
unacceptable,” said Sen. Sanders. “For too long the federal government has
ignored the extraordinary housing crisis in our country. That will end when I
am president. My administration will be looking out for working families and
tenants, not the billionaires who control Wall Street.”
In America today, there is a shortage of 7.4
million affordable homes for the lowest-income renters and more than 18 million
families in America are paying more than half of their limited incomes on
housing and utilities. The federal government should be expanding housing programs,
but Donald Trump wants to cut them by $9.6 billion, or 18 percent.
for All plan would instead end the housing crisis, build millions of
affordable housing units, implement a national rent control standard,
revitalize public housing, protect tenants, combat gentrification, end
predatory lending and modern day redlining, and end homelessness by:
nearly 10 million homes through the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund,
social housing, Community Land Trusts, and other housing programs.
funding tenant-based Section 8 rental assistance at $410 billion over the next
ten years and making it a mandatory funding program for all eligible
a national cap on annual rent increases at no more than 3 percent or 1.5 times
the Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher, to help prevent the exploitation
of tenants at the hands of private landlords.
exclusionary and restrictive zoning ordinances and replacing them with zoning
that encourages racial, economic, and disability integration that makes housing
McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants to more than $26 billion over the
next five years to build permanent supportive housing.
the mass sale of mortgages to Wall Street vulture funds and thoroughly
investigating and regulate the practices of large rental housing investors and
legislation to prevent abusive “contract for deed” transactions and using
existing authority to protect communities of color, which for too long have
been exploited by this practice.
Sanders’ proposal will be fully paid for by
establishing a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent. It will cost
$2.5 trillion over the next decade.
The details of the Sanders housing plan can be read here.