Home 2019 Elections FACT SHEET: Vice President Harris Announces First-of-Its-Kind Funding to Lower Housing Costs...

FACT SHEET: Vice President Harris Announces First-of-Its-Kind Funding to Lower Housing Costs by Reducing Barriers to Building More Homes

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From the White House, Office of the Vice President

FACT SHEET: Vice President Harris Announces First-of-Its-Kind Funding to Lower Housing Costs by Reducing Barriers to Building More Homes

The $85 million in PRO Housing funds announced today will empower communities nationwide to lower housing costs and boost housing supply through locally-led planning, infrastructure, development, and preservation activities in 21 communities.

WASHINGTON – Today, Vice President Harris announced the recipients of new grants under the Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) grant competition with the goal of building more housing, and lowering housing and rental costs for American families. The President and the Vice President know that the cost of housing is too high. That’s why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created PRO Housing a first-of-its-kind program that provides funding to communities actively addressing barriers to building new units. Funding will support updates to state and local housing plans, land use policies, permitting processes, and other actions aimed at building and preserving more affordable housing.

We are starting to see some progress. More housing units are under construction during this Administration than at any time in the last 50 years, rents have fallen over the last year in many places, and the homeownership rate is higher now than before the pandemic. But rent is still too high, and Americans who want to buy a home still have difficulty finding one they can afford. That is why President Biden and Vice President Harris are committed to lower housing costs, including by increasing housing supply by building and preserving more homes. In the State of the Union, President Biden called on Congress to pass his and Vice President Harris’s plan to build two million additional homes, increase rental assistance, and help first-time and first-generation homebuyers.

Recognizing that every community is different, the grants announced today are critical to breaking down local barriers that stand in the way of housing development and lower costs. Common barriers to housing identified in the PRO Housing applications include the high cost of land and development, underutilized vacant land and property, aging housing stock, inadequate infrastructure, displacement pressures, risks of extreme weather or environment hazards, and outdated land-use and permitting policies and processes.

The demand for these awards was substantial, with requests exceeding $13 for every $1 available. Applications came from more than 175 communities across 47 states and territories, representing diverse demographics and geographic settings. The Biden-Harris Administration will also release an additional $100 million in PRO Housing funding later this summer.

The awards announced today build upon the historic levels of funding made available for housing, infrastructure, and community resilience by the Biden-Harris Administration. The President’s FY25 Budget proposes a historic investment of more than $258 billion in housing, including a $20 billion Innovation Fund for Housing Expansion, which would provide critical support to further eliminate barriers to housing, spur development, and encourage innovative housing solutions. The President’s FY25 Budget also proposes an additional $100 million request for PRO Housing grants. Vice President Harris has been highlighting the Administration’s investments in affordable housing and homeownership as part of her nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.

“President Biden and I believe that every American deserves affordable housing so they have a roof over their head and a place to call home. That is why we have a plan to build millions of new units of affordable housing in communities all across our nation, which will bring down the cost of housing for renters and help more Americans buy a home,” said Vice President Harris. “Today, I am proud to announce that we are taking a critical step forward by investing $85 million to help more than 20 communities throughout our country remove barriers to building more affordable housing.”

HUD is awarding $85 million in funding through PRO Housing to 21 winners. The winners include jurisdictions ranging from under 5,000 residents in a rural community to millions of people across an urban county. In addition to the grant funding, winners will be invited to participate in a technical assistance cohort to facilitate peer learning and implementation support. HUD will also offer technical assistance for communities who applied for round one funding and other HUD grantees committed to addressing barriers to housing – highlighting how annual grants and low-cost federal financing can be used to adopt housing-forward strategies and boost housing supply.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have prioritized reducing housing costs,” said HUD Acting Secretary Todman. “As I travel across the country, I hear from people all the time, including builders, elected officials, and other stakeholders, about how difficult it is to build housing. This is why I am pleased to announce our first round of PRO Housing funding, which will provide communities with incentives to address their local housing barriers. This expands on our ongoing efforts to lower housing costs by increasing the housing supply.”

The PRO Housing winners have already invested in strategies to boost housing supply, reform local regulations, incentivize development, prevent displacement, and encourage community driven solutions.

This announcement fulfills a commitment made in the Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan, and builds on sweeping actions to reduce barriers, boost housing supply, and lower costs, including:

  • Leveraging discretionary grant programs to encourage state and local action to build more housing. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has updated its scoring criteria to reward applications from communities with pro-housing policies in place; already, DOT has announced approximately $22 billion in competitive grant funds using the revamped criteria. In addition, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has updated its Investment Priorities to encourage economic development projects that enhance density.
  • Updated guidance for converting commercial property to housing. Last fall, the White House released a Commercial to Residential Federal Resources Guidebook with over 20 federal programs across six federal agencies that can be used to support conversions. These programs include low-interest loans, loan guarantees, grants, and tax incentives, which, subject to the requirements of each program, may be used together to increase the economic viability of conversion projects.
  • Provided low-cost capital for housing. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Federal Financing Bank (FFB) Risk Sharing program provides capital to state and local housing finance agencies (HFAs), enabling them to insure multifamily loans at reduced interest rates to create and preserve high-quality, affordable rental homes. After the previous Administration suspended the program, the Biden-Harris Administration restarted it in 2021. Since then, more than 12,000 affordable housing units have been created or preserved, supported by almost $2 billion in FHA-insured loans made through the program. In February, HUD and Treasury extended the program indefinitely, which will create an estimated 38,000 additional units over ten years, as well as bolster HFA participation in the program.
  • Finalized the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) “Income Averaging” rule. To qualify for LIHTC, developers must make commitments to create housing that is affordable to households that meet specific income thresholds. Income averaging allows a developer to meet the same affordability goals by taking the average of the income for some households who are in the property as opposed to requiring all to meet the same threshold. This “average-income test” for LIHTC qualification will enable the creation of more financially-stable, mixed-income developments and make LIHTC-supported housing more feasible in sparsely populated rural areas. It will also facilitate the production of additional affordable and available units for extremely low-income tenants. Treasury has also provided needed guidance to developers using LIHTC equity to build multifamily housing that is rented to tenants across a wider income spectrum.
  • Streamlined and modernized the HOME program. Earlier this spring, HUD published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the HOME Investment Partnership Program. The proposed rule, if finalized as proposed, would streamline program requirements for states and localities, better align HOME funding with other federal housing resources, reduce administrative burden for communities and housing developers, improve assistance and protections for renters, strengthen the use of HOME for homeownership activities, and encourage green and climate resilient building practices. The HOME program is a critical tool to bolster housing supply and preserve existing affordable housing at a time of need.
  • Invested in making our nation’s affordable housing more energy efficient and resilient. This week, HUD announced an additional $142 million in funding to support energy efficiency and climate resiliency renovations to combat the climate crisis and improve the lives of residents in HUD-supported housing through the Green and Resilient Retrofit program (GRRP). As of today, HUD has announced a total of $686 million under this program.
  • Published a $235 million funding opportunity to support manufactured housing communities. Through the Preservation and Reinvestment Initiative for Community Enhancement (PRICE) Program, HUD has made $225 million available to support manufactured housing communities and residents of manufactured homes. Applications are due July 10th.
  • Increasing loan limits for Title I Manufactured Housing. FHA published a final rule increasing loan limits for the Title I Manufactured Housing program, which insures loans to finance the purchase or refinancing of manufactured homes titled as personal property. Doing so will allow FHA to better serve low- and moderate-income and first-time buyers of manufactured housing whose financing needs have not been well-served by the private market. Historically, HUD’s Title I program has been an important source of financing for manufactured homes, but low loan limits have made the program dormant in recent years. The rule will increase loan limits to be in line with current market prices and enable HUD to regularly update the limits in the future. To support this action, Ginnie Mae revised eligibility requirements for Issuers of its Manufactured Housing Mortgage-Backed Securities program. These actions are intended to reduce barriers to entry for Issuers and increase participation in its securitization program for Title I loans.
  • Made historic investments in homebuilding and community development in Indian Country. HUD announced the largest ever funding investment in Native American housing for affordable housing activities including new housing construction, rehabilitation, housing services, and more.
  • Expanded access to financing for homes with accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Announced a new policy to allow for the inclusion of rental income from an ADU in a borrower’s income. This action enables more homebuyers to purchase a home with an ADU or seek to add one to qualify for FHA-insured financing.

The Vice President’s announcement builds on her career of working to protect homeowners and address housing supply and affordability. As Attorney General of California, she helped pass the California Homeowner Bill of Rights to provide protections to homeowners facing foreclosure. As U.S. Senator, she introduced several bills to increase the supply of affordable housing and lower costs for renters.

Now as Vice President, she has led several announcements to ensure all families have a safe and affordable place to live, including $5.5 billion in new funding to boost affordable housing, invest in economic growth, build wealth, and address homelessness across America. The Vice President has also led the charge on addressing racial bias in home appraisals by announcing key actions of the PAVE Action Plan, including steps taken to make it easier for more homeowners to appeal home appraisals that may be undervalued because of racial bias.

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