Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford statement on Biden Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan
ATLANTA (May 16, 2022) — Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford issued the following statement on the release of the Housing Supply Action Plan by the Biden administration:
We applaud the administration for rolling out an action plan to address the affordable housing supply shortage facing the nation. This bold policy statement provides a commendable blueprint to make homeownership attainable for millions of families and outlines a path to closing the racial homeownership gap. Our country is facing a historic low supply of entry level homes for sale, amidst the worst pandemic in more than a century, and federal investments and administrative actions are paramount to solving the lack of housing supply for low and moderate-income families in urban, suburban and rural communities alike.
The administration’s proposal to expand and improve existing federal financing for programs like HOME; expand financing for small-scale housing types like accessory dwelling units and townhomes; and ensure that more government-owned supply of homes go to owner occupants or mission-driven nonprofits who will rehab them, are just a few of the steps highlighted in the plan that would boost affordable housing supply and bring down the cost of housing.
Additionally, the plan calls for the passage of legislation such as the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which would create a tax credit to build and rehabilitate homes for low- to moderate-income homeowners, and the Unlocking Possibilities Program, which provides grants to localities to support zoning reforms that increase affordable housing production. Both are programs that Habitat has advocated for through the Cost of Home national advocacy campaign.
The statement from the White House is a significant first step, however we need to go further. More than 17 million U.S. households are spending half or more of their income on housing. Skyrocketing housing costs have brought America’s housing crisis to a tipping point, and the impact on communities of color has been especially staggering.
Habitat calls on Congress to respond to this critical need by providing additional funding for the HOME program and passing policies like NHIA and the Unlocking Possibilities Program. Doing so will allow us to not only bring swift housing relief, but also begin to dismantle decades of discriminatory housing policies, which have long been the engine of American inequality.
Housing supply constraints are affecting every community, and we strongly encourage bipartisan support for these solutions. Families cannot gain a solid foundation without affordable housing. It’s time to unite behind an American Dream that offers a path to economic prosperity for all – and that starts with expanding homeownership and affordable housing opportunities.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.