Building on the momentum of affordable housing advocacy across the country, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2018, a major and wide-sweeping new housing bill that aims to build or rehabilitate more than 3 million new affordable homes over a period of ten years at a cost of nearly a $500 billion dollars. NYHC applauds Senator Warren for proposing this monumental and ground-breaking legislation that is aimed to directly combat the affordable housing crisis plaguing our city, state and nation. In NY, this legislation will increase the development of affordable housing, lower rents, reduce homelessness, decrease housing discrimination, and open new doors to home ownership for lower income households. Below are key funding highlights of the legislation:

  • $445 billion would be invested in the national Housing Trust Fund.
  • $25 billion in the Capital Magnet Fund.
  • $10 billion in grants for infrastructure development to local governments that amend their land use rules to allow for the development of more affordable housing.
  • $2 billion in the Indian Housing Block Grant.
  • $4 billion in a new “Middle-Class Housing Emergency Fund,” to support the construction of homes in areas where supply is limited, and housing prices have increased faster than incomes.
  • $2 billion to support borrowers whose wealth was destroyed in the 2008 financial crisis and who still have negative equity on their mortgages.
  • $523 million in rural housing programs.
  • Down payment grants to first-time low-to-moderate income homebuyers in formerly red-lined or officially segregated areas.
In addition, the bill would amend other key housing laws in the following ways:
  • Expand the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income.
  • Expand the scope of financial institutions covered under the Community Reinvestment Act and strengthen its sanctions.
  • Modify the guidelines for the Housing Choice Voucher program to make it easier for recipients to use their vouchers to secure housing in neighborhoods with good schools.
As evidenced by both the New York City and New York State’s Affordable Housing Plans, affordable housing development spurs local job creation and has a positive community economic impact. Therefore, it is not surprising that Moody’s Analytics estimates that this bill would increase employment by 730,000 jobs in its first year, and by as much 1.5 million jobs at the peak of its impact in the mid-2020s. It also predicted that this legislation would lead to 10% lower rents compared to rents today by the end of the ten-year period, which will dramatically help cost-burdened and lower income families in NY. The bill is designed to be deficit neutral, and the bill’s hefty cost is proposed to be offset by increasing the estate tax back to George W. Bush-era levels and from tax revenues generated by increased home-building activity and other economic activity catalyzed by this legislation.