National Fair Housing Alliance Statement Following President Biden’s State of the Union Address
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2023
Contact: Izzy Woodruff | email@example.com
Washington, D.C. — In response to President Biden’s State of the Union Address, Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President, National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), issued the following statement:
“We appreciate the President lifting up the need to address the nation’s affordable housing crisis in tonight’s State of the Union Address. But affordable housing does not equate to fair housing without effective enforcement of the nation’s robust, fair housing and lending infrastructure. Fair access to housing, free from discrimination, is essential to creating equitable opportunities. The Biden-Harris administration has taken significant steps to tackle housing discrimination and increase access to fair housing. The recent release of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) proposed rule and the administration’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights, demonstrate important administrative policy actions aimed at tackling housing insecurity for all Americans and providing every community with the amenities they need to thrive. Now, a renewed focus is needed to create a comprehensive, national housing strategy rooted in fairness and affordability.
“Just today, Federal Reserve Chair Powell stated that deflation in housing has yet to arrive, which once again shows the Federal Reserve lacks the tools to deal with the housing crisis alone. Housing payments continue to be the single largest expense in a family’s budget. Rising housing costs are not only squeezing families, they are a leading contributor to the historic inflation we see.
“As we mark Black History Month, and look forward to the 55th Anniversary of the Kerner Commission’s conclusive report and the Fair Housing Act, which was passed days after the violent assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., bold strides are needed to dismantle our inequitable housing landscape. For years, lawmakers failed to prioritize investments in housing supply and assistance programs that are necessary for a fair and affordable housing market. Homes in Black neighborhoods continue to be devalued by billions of dollars and more families are unhoused.
“Systemic discrimination in housing and lending policies continue to be a prime engine of social and economic inequality among communities of color, and millions of Americans are disadvantaged due to decades of unfair and exclusionary housing and lending policies.
“The President is right. Congress should immediately pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to put an end to deadly police violence. The tragic death of Mr. Tyre Nichols and so many others is a reminder of the failures of systems of public safety. By investing in community-centered interventions, along with fair and affordable housing, we can create communities that are better resourced and provide residents with more possibilities. With an economic system rooted in systemic racism and injustice, there is no better time to make these important policy changes to chart a new course for future generations, saving lives and expanding opportunities.
“Now is the time for unprecedented bold action that leaves no community behind. Voters are demanding solutions, and Congress and the Biden Administration have a moral imperative to seize the moment to create a more equitable and just society for all. We look forward to partnering to advance efforts in these critical areas.”
NFHA’s Priorities for a National Housing Plan:
- $1 billion for Fair Housing Initiatives Program for local fair housing enforcement and education
- $250 million for Fair Housing Assistance Program for state and local government agency enforcement
- $100 billion for First Generation DPA (Downpayment Assistance) grants for people first in their family to own a home, based on the Downpayment Toward Equity Act
- $5 billion for tax credits for rehabilitation of distressed properties, Neighborhood Homes Investment Act. This bipartisan legislation incentivizes the rehabilitation of distressed properties in communities that were targeted for unsustainable subprime mortgages and where today, the cost of repairs exceeds the likely sale price. Language must be added for the Treasury to ensure the tax credit program affirmatively furthers fair housing
- $24 billion for Housing Vouchers, to help meet some existing needs
- $1.75 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance for new contracts
- $15 billion for National Housing Trust to preserve and develop units for lowest-income families
- $1.75 billion for Unlocking Possibilities Program to reduce barriers to housing production
- $3 billion for Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund to undo blight and abandonment
- $1 billion for Native American, Alaskan, and Hawaiian Housing
- $500 million for Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities
- $500 million for Supportive Housing for Elders
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal housing opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.