House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters issued a lengthy housing to-do list for President-elect Joe Biden.
Waters, D-California, sent a 7,056-word letter to Biden urging him to, among other things:
- Issue an executive order to prevent evictions.
- Direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “implement a uniform, interim recertification rule that requires PHAs and owners to presume that a tenant’s inability to pay rent has been caused by a loss of income, and as a result would be required to conduct an income recertification.”
- Preserve the GSE Patch for the duration of the pandemic and re-propose a replacement for the GSE Patch when the housing market has stabilized
- Fire Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger.
- Fire United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Director Robert Marbut.
- Expand the use of Title V to convert unused federal lands and properties into affordable housing for the homeless.
- Fully staff HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
- Issue “strong guidance” from the CFPB to financial institutions to “ensure they are doing all they can to provide appropriate forbearance and loan modifications” to borrowers during the pandemic.
- Rescind multiple executive orders issued by President Trump.
“Unfortunately, President Trump has generally abandoned any attempt to lead this country through the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, even though more than a thousand Americans are being killed every day,” Waters wrote. “There are several actions that your incoming administration can immediately take to coordinate the federal response, keep people safely housed, protect consumers and small businesses, support the broader economy and ensure a global recovery.”
In February, 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 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.
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.
“Your inauguration to the highest office in the land could not come soon enough. I look forward to working with your team to ensure that we build an economy that is fair, equitable and prosperous for all,” Waters wrote to Biden.