Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration provided a progress update regarding the implementation of its Housing Supply Action Plan, which in May outlined a set of administrative and legislative priorities aimed at closing the housing supply shortfall in five years. A White House press release reports that President Biden believes that policies to boost the supply of affordable housing are critical to easing the burden of rising housing costs for renters and aspiring homeowners, and must be taken in combination with actions that address near-term housing affordability and promote fair housing.

Citing the rising costs of housing, including rent increases for many tenants that make it more challenging for Americans to afford other essentials like food, transportation, and health care, the White House press release says the Administration continues to urge Congress to act on a bipartisan basis to close the supply gap, and expand housing affordability by supporting the construction and preservation of affordable housing this year. The Administration is also calling on Congress to expand rental assistance, assist aspiring homeowners with down payment assistance, and help create a more equitable housing market. The White House also continues to urge state and local governments to reduce needless barriers to housing production, especially restrictive zoning and land use regulations.

In keeping with commitments made in the Housing Supply Action Plan, announced in May, the press release says federal agencies have taken action to reduce barriers to building and preserving affordable housing, including a set of new actions that the Administration announced last week. At the same time, the Administration says it has acted where it can to directly address affordability, including for low-income renters. The press release provided the example of the recent Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announcement awarding more than 19,000 new Housing Choice Vouchers – the most expansive allocation of flexible new rental assistance in 20 years.

New steps that the Administration has announced to reduce barriers to affordable housing construction and preservation, which will make it easier to build affordable housing, include:

1. Finalizing regulations that make it easier to build mixed-income housing, housing that includes very-low-income tenants, and housing in sparsely populated rural areas by reforming the income guidelines for the main source of financing for affordable housing — Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs).

2. Extending LIHTC deadlines to ensure that affordable housing projects delayed by public health, economic, and supply-chain issues can be built as expeditiously as possible and still qualify for LIHTCs.

3. Reforming and streamlining a financing program at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that will make it easier to build homes for rent by providing more affordable financing for multifamily housing construction.

4. Continuing to promote more housing options near transit and other modes of transportation, coordination of transportation and housing planning, and rewarding jurisdictions that have removed barriers to housing development.

To read the full press release, CLICK HERE.

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