FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2022
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Washington, D.C. —The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) recognizes the importance of passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which President Biden is expected to sign into law soon. In addition to its groundbreaking climate change, tax and healthcare features, the legislation authorizes $1 billion to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for loans and grants to projects that improve energy or water efficiency, enhance indoor air quality or support other climate-mitigating housing initiatives. Now, Congress must focus on housing as a key driver of inflation to create equitable opportunities for communities of color and rural parts of the nation.
“Rising housing costs are a major contributor to growing national inflation, and ongoing residential segregation puts people of color at greater risk of suffering harm from pollution and accelerating climate change. It’s a toxic mix, and Congress can alleviate the economic pressures and health and social costs it imposes on families by adopting a more expansive and ambitious approach to comprehensive inflation-fighting measures that recognizes the role that housing costs are playing in all of this,” said Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President at NFHA.
“Where you live matters and is one of the best predictors of health and well-being,” she continued. “We urge Congress to build upon this major step and now focus on delivering equitable legislation that will reduce the cost of housing and increase housing and neighborhood opportunity for all Americans, especially Black, Latino, AAPI, Native, lower-income, women-led and LBGTQ+ households that face the disproportionate harms of the housing affordability crisis and worsening climate change.
“Homeownership is the primary source of wealth for most Americans, and the median wealth of White families was eight times that of Black families and five times that of Latino families, largely due to disparities in homeownership. Race is the most significant predictor of whether a person will live in a neighborhood with contaminated air, land or water. Blacks and Latinos are more likely to live in health deserts with fewer healthcare facilities and primary care physicians. Higher paying jobs are located either in core downtown areas or suburban hubs and often not in communities of color or areas that have affordable housing stock. Schools spend $334 more on White students than students of color, further evidence that where a family lives determines whether children have access to well-resourced schools. Native communities suffer substantially worse housing conditions compared to the general population, and LGBTQ youth face the highest levels of homelessness. The nexus between climate resiliency and housing requires a greater investment that will help grow the economy for everyone,” said Bailey.
NFHA urges Congress to:
- Support fair housing groups working to eliminate inequality and combat redlining and discrimination by providing $700 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program and $100 million for the Fair Housing Assistance Program.
- Support measures that address housing affordability, inventory and supply challenges such as providing funding for the Downpayment Toward Equity Act, which provides a First-Generation Downpayment Assistance program; the Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund; the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act; the Unlocking Possibilities Program; the Investing in Native Communities initiative and the National Housing Trust. We also recommend increasing the number of housing vouchers; boosting project-based rental assistance; and shoring up the nation’s public housing stock.
- Support training for more people in the building trades and prioritize projects in communities that are working with the federal government to remove bureaucracies and restrictive zoning and lower the cost of housing development.
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 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