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1.5 Million New Homes: Joe Biden Puts Forth More Ambitious Housing Platform

by Nena Perry-Brown

On Tuesday, the presumptive Democratic nominee former Vice President Joe Biden put forth a racial equity platform that includes his most ambitious housing ideas yet. 

Biden's plan proposes to create a refundable First Down Payment Tax Credit of up to $15,000 for low- and middle-income buyers. Eligible buyers would receive the credit once the home is purchased. The administration would also create a public credit reporting agency that would factor in non-traditional sources of information like rental payments, and would be used for federal mortgage underwriting. The Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (introduced in the House of Representatives in 2019) would also be revived to offer tax credits for renovation of "distressed properties in distressed communities."

Biden also plans to reinvest in public housing and affordable housing to construct 1.5 million energy-efficient homes, and create a renter's tax credit so that low-income households who make too much to receive a housing voucher don't pay more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. States that receive Community Development Block Grant or Surface Transportation Block Grant dollars would be required to strategize how to address the segregationist legacy of exclusionary (single-unit only) zoning. 

Biden's administration would also create a national set of homeowner's and renter's protections based on the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, expand legal assistance for households facing eviction, and reenact the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule and a risk-sharing program that partners the federal government with housing finance agencies to fund construction of affordable housing units.

As for the Opportunity Zone (OZ) program, the plan would incentivize a greater focus on community-led investment. The reform would require more transparent reporting practices from OZ investors and would incentivize Opportunity Funds to partner with community-based organizations and create community benefits agreements for each investment.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/1-5-million-new-homes-puts-forth-more-ambitious-housing-platfor/17126

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