Ahead of the South Carolina primary, former Vice President Joe Biden released a $640 billion housing plan that is designed to provide access to affordable, safe and energy-efficient homes that are “located near good schools and with a reasonable commute to their jobs.”
Biden’s 5,200-word plan includes a refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000 for people buying their first homes; the creation of a $100 billion Affordable Housing Fund to build new and improve existing affordable housing; and ending “discriminatory and unfair practices” in the housing market.
“Housing should be a right, not a privilege. Far too many Americans lack access to affordable and quality housing,” the Biden campaign said in announcing the plan.
“Nationwide, we have a shortage of available, affordable housing units for low-income individuals. Tens of millions of Americans spend more than 30% of their income on housing – leaving them with nowhere near enough money left over to meet other needs, from groceries to prescription drugs. And tens of millions of Americans live in homes that endanger their health and safety.”
The $640 billion price tag would be paid for by raising taxes on businesses and financial institutions, including a financial fee on firms with more than $50 billion in assets. Biden said $300 billion of the plan is devoted to new construction.
The $100 billion Affordable Housing Fund would include $65 billion incentives for state housing authorities and the Indian Housing Block Grant program to build or improve “low-cost, efficient, resilient and accessible housing” where affordable housing is scarce. Another $10 billion would be allotted to making homes more energy efficient and $5 billion will be allocated to the HOME program, which helps communities buy property to build affordable housing.
The remaining $20 billion would go to the Housing Trust Fund (paid for by an assessment on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to support the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing units.
Biden also stressed that his plan would “restore the federal government’s power to enforce settlements against discriminatory lenders” – a power the Trump Administration had removed from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Read Biden’s full housing plan here.