WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) formally introduced three bills to help more people afford to have a roof over their head without sacrificing food, medicine, or other life necessities. The legislative package – the Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021, Ending Homelessness Act of 2021, and Housing Is Infrastructure Act of 2021 – has received the endorsement of the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).
“Chairwoman Waters is a long-time champion of fair and affordable housing. Her proposed legislative package addresses our nation’s housing affordability crisis head-on, recognizing that housing is an essential component of economic opportunity,” said Center for Responsible Lending Federal Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel Ashley Harrington.
Saving for a mortgage downpayment is a substantial barrier to homeownership, which hits communities of color particularly hard. A recent CRL report “Hardship for Renters: Too Many Years to Save for Mortgage Down Payment and Closing Costs” found that, based on income, a typical white renter household needs 9 years, a Latino renter household 11 years, and a Black renter household 14 years to save for a minimal down payment of 5% for a mortgage.
Harrington continued, “The Downpayment Toward Equity Act would help millions of individuals – particularly communities of color long denied equitable access to credit – to achieve homeownership. This legislation would be a major step toward closing the racial homeownership gap and would boost economic growth.”
Homeownership is one of the primary ways that families build intergenerational wealth. Pervasive housing discrimination, including redlining, as well as continued structural barriers to homeownership have been a primarily driver of the wealth gap between white Americans and people of color, particularly Black Americans.
Summaries of the bills and links to fact sheets provided by the Chairwoman’s office:
- The Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 would help address the U.S. racial wealth and homeownership gaps by providing $100 billion toward downpayment and other financial assistance for first-generation homebuyers to purchase their first home.
- The Ending Homelessness Act of 2021 would end homelessness and significantly reduce poverty in America by transforming the Housing Choice Voucher program into a federal entitlement, so that every household who qualifies for assistance would receive it.
- The Housing is Infrastructure Act of 2021 would provide a historic investment of over $600 billion in equitable, affordable, and accessible housing infrastructure. This generational investment would address our national eviction and homelessness crises, increase access to homeownership, and support a robust recovery from the pandemic by creating jobs, addressing climate change, and improving housing stability for struggling households.
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