The cost of housing for both owners and renters continues to rise faster than incomes can keep pace, and it’s getting harder and harder for workers to live near their jobs.1
There is a national shortage of more than 7 million affordable housing units, and this problem affects every state and each of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the US.2 We need to increase the supply of affordable housing units and ensure that the housing finance market supports affordability.
More than 10 years after the financial crisis, we still have not taken action to fix our broken housing finance system. In Congress, Delaney proposed a bipartisan housing finance reform package that stabilizes the market, protects taxpayers from funding any new bailouts, and generates revenue to fund affordable housing programs.3 Delaney’s $125 billion affordable housing plan will increase federal investment, deter local policies that prevent the construction of new affordable housing units, and help low-income families afford rent and stay in their homes. This new investment will directly support the construction of more than 5 million new affordable housing units, in addition to millions of new market-rate housing units encouraged through zoning reform. The significant increase in housing supply will help reduce the rapid inflation of rent and housing costs that we have seen over the past decade.
- The Housing Trust Fund (HTF), which supports the construction and maintenance of affordable rental housing, has made $905 million available to state housing agencies since it first received funding in 2016.4 HTF awards benefit households earning less than 50% of the median income for the area where they live, with the majority of HTF money directed to support households earning less than 30% of their area’s median income.
- Delaney will increase funding for the HTF to a minimum of $7 billion annually, a greater than 25-fold increase over the HTF funding level in 2019.
- Government support through the HTF is not sufficient to solve the affordable housing crisis. We need more construction financed by the private sector, but overly restrictive zoning laws are constraining the supply of affordable housing by preventing new units from being built.
- Delaney will create a new annual $5 billion affordable housing grant program that provides additional funding to housing agencies in states and municipalities that remove zoning restrictions that limit the construction of affordable multifamily housing.
- Each year, there are more than 2 million eviction filings and nearly 1 million families get evicted from their homes.5 Eviction leads to a wide array of negative consequences, including higher rates of depression among evicted mothers and worse physical health outcomes among evicted mothers and their children.6 The overwhelming majority of low-income families involved in eviction proceedings do so without the assistance of counsel, which leaves them unable to assert their legal rights and vulnerable to unscrupulous landlords. Tenants in eviction cases who have legal representation are able to stay in their homes at rates up to 4.4 times higher than those without counsel.7
- Delaney will create a right-to-counsel for eviction procedures and provide an annual $500 million in federal funding to secure legal representation for low-income renters.
New York City, San Francisco, and Newark have adopted laws establishing a right-to-counsel in eviction cases. The American Bar Association endorsed a right-to-counsel for eviction cases in 2006.8
- “U.S. house prices to rise at twice the speed of inflation and pay: Reuters poll.” Reuters, 2018.
“The growing distance between people and jobs in metropolitan America.” Brookings Institution, 2015.
- “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes.” National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2018.
- “Fannie-Freddie Plan Unveiled as House Takes Fresh Stab at Reform.” Bloomberg, 2018.
- “National Housing Trust Fund.” National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2019.
- “National Estimates: Eviction in America.” Princeton University Eviction Lab, 2018.
- “Eviction’s Fallout: Housing, Hardship, and Health.” Social Forces, 2015.
- “The Impact of Counsel: An Analysis of Empirical Evidence.” Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 2010.
- “Report to the House of Delegates.” American Bar Association, 2006.