Congress and Administration Reach Agreement That Could Lead to 1 Million Affordable Homes

Photo by Liz Sanchez-Vegas on Unsplash

By Vanguard Staff

Washington, DC – The housing crisis is not just in California and now there will be a huge influx of $150 billion for housing programs as a result of an agreement reached between Congress and the administration on the Build Back Better Act – which is the President’s larger infrastructure bill.

Overall, the Build Back Better Act encompasses a huge investment in “human infrastructure” and social programs, which aims to decrease poverty, redress racist policies, and increase the social safety net. The bill includes funding for climate change prevention, universal pre-kindergarten, an expanded child tax credit, health care, and other items paid for with taxes on corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

The agreement also includes $150 billion for housing programs. This transformative legislation will improve existing and provide new housing for the lowest-income people and families through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (including public housing, vouchers, and homebuyer assistance) and the Department of Agriculture (including rental housing and homeownership).

“The framework will make the single largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing in history,” the administration said on Friday in a release.  “The framework will enable the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of more than 1 million affordable homes, boosting housing supply and reducing price pressures for renters and homeowners.”

“It will address the capital needs of the public housing stock in big cities and rural communities all across America and ensure it is not only safe and habitable but healthier and more energy efficient as well. It will make a historic investment in rental assistance, expanding vouchers to hundreds of thousands of additional families. And, it includes one of the largest investments in down payment assistance in history, enabling hundreds of thousands of first-generation homebuyers to purchase their first home and build wealth,” the release stated.

It added, “This legislation will create more equitable communities, through investing in community-led redevelopments projects in historically under-resourced neighborhoods and removing lead paint from hundreds of thousands of homes, as well as by incentivizing state and local zoning reforms that enable more families to reside in higher opportunity neighborhoods.”

In a statement from the National Housing Law Project, they noted, “NHLP will continue to advocate in some areas which could be improved including: additional funding for public housing and rural housing; no net loss of public housing; tenants’ rights protections in all programs; and a pilot program for small dollar mortgages.”

They added, “We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration in the days and years to come to make sure these programs work for BIPOC communities and the lowest-income families in our country. These are the same communities and families who were ruthlessly targeted by the last administration’s policies. The Build Back Better Act will make an enormous difference to the landscape of fair and affordable housing for years to come.”

Below is a summary of the bill’s housing programs. Funding is for ten years unless otherwise indicated.

HUD Funding

  • $65 billion for public housing, including $53 billion for repair, replacement, and construction for five years


  • $15 billion for new vouchers, renewals, and admin fees
  • $7.1 billion for new vouchers for households at risk of or experiencing homelessness and for sexual violence survivors
  • $1 billion for tenant protection vouchers related to funding for public housing preservation, renewals, and fees
  • $300 million for mobility grants
  • $880 million for project-based rental assistance
  • $25 billion for HOME Investment Partnerships program
  • $15 billion for the Housing Trust Fund
  • $10 billion for HUD downpayment assistance for first generation homebuyers for five years
  • $4 billion for a new program to allow first-time and first generation homebuyers to build equity more quickly
  • $3 billion for the Community Restoration and Development Fund
  • $1.77 billion for climate resilience and energy and water improvements to affordable housing
  • $1.5 billion for revitalization of distressed multifamily properties
  • $540 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and $160 million for HUD’s administration of FHIP and the Fair Housing Assistance Program

USDA Rural Housing Funding

  • $1.8 billion for rural rental housing programs: Section 515 (rental housing); Section 514 & 516 (farmworker housing). These funds are for new construction, climate resilience, preservation, and to remove health and safety hazards.
  • $150 million for a new program to allow first-time and first generation homebuyers to build equity more quickly
  • $100 million for expanded rental assistance program available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
  • $100 million for home repair grants


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Keith Olson

    One million new affordable homes added is great but what would really be accomplished being that 1.8 million new immigrants are expected to enter the U.S. in 2021?  Will we really alleviate any housing pressure when we allow such a large influx of poor people to enter the country?

    More than 1.8 million illegal immigrants are expected to cross the U.S.-Mexico border this year, making it the “worst ever” on record, highlighting President Joe Biden’s failed policies, according to a new forecast.

    1. David Greenwald

      Keith – it might be a good idea for you to set forth your own piece laying out your views on immigration rather than injecting it into every topic.

      1. Keith Olson

        I don’t inject immigration into every topic.

        I think it’s relevant here.  How can we alleviate our housing shortage when our country’s policies are creating a bigger demand through unfettered immigration than we can keep up with?

        1. David Greenwald

          This week you’ve injected it into the war on drugs and now housing.

          And you’re not raising issues, you’re using it as a platform to attack Biden with a cut and paste. It would be one thing if you actually raised it through a paragraph argument which brought insight and analysis. This is just dressed up partisanship.

          Want to engage on this, then let’s do it at a much higher level.

          This is from a CATO institute article:

          “ Nearly every American community, past and present, has sought to preserve or expand its population. The histories of most cities and towns are replete with stories of real estate developers who went to great lengths to portray the inevitability of their communities’ growth and success, in the hope of generating a self‐​fulfilling prophecy. American communities, as a rule, see population growth as an economic engine. New families require homes, automobiles, groceries, furnishings, entertainment, and everything else that makes modern life possible.

          When communities lose population, the consequences can be dire. Vacant and abandoned houses are an eyesore at best and magnets for dysfunctional behaviors at worst. Shrinking tax bases leave cities with a dwindling ability to maintain infrastructure, make good on pension obligations, and pay the bills incurred in headier times. And as local economies shrink, the job prospects for those left behind dwindle”

          Part of the point they raise is that the economic implications of immigration are much more complicated than you let on – population growth is a key engine of economic growth. So it’s not simply as simple as supply of housing for population, it’s actual totality of the economic system here.

          I’ll be interested in your thoughts on this.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          I do not have an anti-immigration view…BUT…I do question the belief in the need for endless population growth to sustain economic growth.  It’s simply unsustainable in the long run.  A local government’s job is to optimize resources and growth to serve their constituents.

          Immigrants are one of the primary cogs in the US economy.  At the top end they fill the needs of US tech companies because the US population hasn’t churned out enough good engineers and scientists. The US should really work on this….ideally the US would churn out more good quality STEM types and the need to import this kind of labor would decrease.  On the bottom end of the economy there’s a balance being maintained between the costs of servicing the immigrants that do manual labor types of jobs and the cost savings the US receives because of cheap immigrant labor in areas like food production and home construction.

          As far as culture goes IMO: my experience is that most of these immigrants have a more traditional connection to the US that many natural citizens have lost.  They LIKE being here and despite all of the US’s problems still view this country as a land of opportunity (despite the social injustices that go on).

          As far as affordable housing?  Usually you have to be a US citizen to qualify for the majority of these subsidies.  So this discussion about immigrants on this subject is pointless.

          1. David Greenwald

            Your first point is fair, I just wanted to get the discussion out of the partisan gutter. And thank you for obliging. A lot of interesting points you have raised here, worthy of drilling down into.

    2. Ron Glick

      So much to unpack here.

      Trump shut down immigration, both legal and illegal, so hard that when Afghanistan fell the people who helped us there had to scramble to get out because the Trump administration gutted the infrastructure for vetting and accepting immigrants while sitting on its hands about letting these people in even after the Trump administration negotiated the withdrawal that set the stage for the collapse.

      The gutting of the immigration infrastructure also left the US with hundreds of thousands of un-used green cards. So you want to complain about who is coming in but never complain about why they aren’t coming in legally. Of course those with asylum claims aren’t coming in illegally.

      One of the reasons that there is a labor shortage in many parts of the economy is the lack of immigration. With so many Boomers retiring after having fewer children than the generation that begat them there is a labor shortage especially in the service areas of child care and home health care workers. The demographics we are now living with have been understood for decades so complaining about labor shortages and inflation and immigration all at once works at cross purposes.

      Many immigrants live in large household so the impact on housing is limited.


      1. Alan Miller

        Many immigrants live in large household so the impact on housing is limited.

        That depends on how big a household, in what areas, and how many immigrants relative to supply.

  2. Alan Miller


    The housing crisis is not just in California

    It’s everywhere!  So the government must fix it!

    and now there will be a huge influx of $150 billion for housing programs

    I’m sure those developers who will thrive off the gov’ment teet are salivating.  Nothing but nothing like a gov’ment contract to live fat & happy.

    as a result of an agreement reached between Congress and the administration on the Build Back Better Act –

    Hardy har har, a gov’ment program with a BS name

    which is the President’s larger infrastructure bill.

    So-called ‘infrastructure’

    Overall, the Build Back Better Act encompasses a huge investment in “human infrastructure”

    Not a real term

    and social programs,

    Not part of infrastructure

    which aims to decrease poverty, redress racist policies, and increase the social safety net.

    And aims to save puppies, too!

    The bill includes funding for climate change prevention,

    That horse has sailed . . . that’s a ‘that ship has sailed’, with a horse on it . . .

    universal pre-kindergarten,

    Subsidized day care . . .

    an expanded child tax credit,

    Not infrastructure . . .

    health care,

    Not infrastructure . . .

    and other items paid for with taxes on corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

    Except the ultra-wealthy rich have loopholes, and that hasn’t changed.  So guess who pays . . . and how.

    The agreement also includes $150 billion for housing programs.

    Subsidized housing to the tune of $150 billion.  What could go wrong?

    But I’m the only one who could make a free lunch sound bad, right DG?

    As Bill Mahar said on his show yesterday, “words matter”:

    And to that list, he should have added infrastructureDestroying the meaning of words has become of progressive political tactic.  Or . . . Well . . .

    Where do you youtopians think this is headed?  Who do you think is ultimately going to PAY ?  I’ll tell you, the answer is already here:

    > Skyrocketing food prices . . .

    > Skyrocketing rental rates . . .

    > Skyrocketing property values . . .

    > Skyrocketing gasoline per gallon . . .

    And who suffers the most in inflation?  THE POOR.

    And why is there inflation?  Because the gov’ment has opened up new perpetual spending in the TRILLION$, and that “infusion” of cash is like giving the patient water . . . and more water . . . and more water . . . because more is better, right? . . . until one dies of hyponatremia.

    When you flood the economy with cash on this hyper-scale, it HURTS THE POOR.  Meanwhile, those with money know their money is going to be worth-much-less and their savings are going to be for naught, so they go out en-masse to put their cash into things like property, and that puts property values out of reach to . . . and who do we hurt? . . . THE POOR . . . and pretty much the entire low to medium working class.

    It’s the same blindness . . . we put all this money into ‘homeless’ programs while not understanding (or accepting) the true nature of problem . . . and we end up with more homeless people.  NOW we try to solve the housing ‘crisis’ with a massive increase in subsidized housing . . . and market housing goes flying out of reach.  Which means we need to save people by subsidizing MORE HOUSING, right?

    STOP THE SUBSIDIES, STOP INFLATION – we are shooting ourselves in the foot – except with Biden’s policies, we are using a cannon instead of a gun.

    Happy Saturday, everybody!


    1. Ron Glick

      Time will tell how all this spending on housing by both the state and the Feds will play out. If we want to do something about housing people affordably the free market alone won’t do it.

  3. Ron Oertel

    I smell a housing bubble, though (like many other places) it’s probably due to people fleeing more-expensive areas.

    Sacramento, California, is at the top of the list for the United States’s least affordable new homes markets.

    Hey – they left out Davis! (To the “outside world”, Davis is not all that distinct from Sacramento, and is part of its region.)

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