Opinion: Federal Policies That Could Ease the Housing Deficit

The president of Habitat for Humanity has some suggestions for U.S. lawmakers.

2 minute read

February 11, 2024, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Modern building under construction.

Jandrie Lombard / Adobe Stock

In an opinion piece in The Hill, Jonathan Reckford, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, outlines a set of bipartisan actions that the United States Congress could take to address the housing affordability crisis that is impacting more and more American households. As Reckford points out, millions of households spend more than half their income on housing, and homeownership is out of reach for many.

Reckford suggests that Congress should pass the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which offers federal tax credits for the rehabilitation of older homes. Additionally, “Robust funding for vital housing and community development federal programs must be a priority in the fiscal year 2025 budget.”

Reckford also recommends prioritizing housing programs in rural areas, where housing costs have been skyrocketing as remote work makes households more mobile. “The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations bill contains the USDA Section 502 Direct Loan Program, which is a mortgage program that assists low- and very-low-income applicants in purchasing a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home.” The program, which did not pass a House vote, needs $1.5 billion in funding.

Reckford points out that “when housing is prioritized, research shows a direct link to improved health outcomes, education and employment. If we, as a nation, care about addressing societal challenges, housing can be the lever to improve so many lives.”

Friday, February 9, 2024 in The Hill

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