The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has proposed a new piece of legislation that it says could not only address broad housing affordability issues, but might be supported by both major political parties.
The proposed legislation, dubbed the “American Housing Act of 2023,” is based on three key goals: to increase the production of affordable housing; to preserve existing affordable housing stock; and to help families find and afford housing they can feasibly acquire.
The legislation is based on housing proposals issued in the past by both Democrats and Republicans.
“The affordable housing crisis demands bipartisan legislative action,” BPC writes in its introduction to the proposed legislation. “Housing policy is one of the most powerful tools to drive economic prosperity for families and communities, yet ambitious housing measures have not been a top bipartisan legislative priority in recent years.”
What BPC has proposed is what it calls “a comprehensive, evidence-based piece of housing legislation” that aims to take the “best ideas” that have been introduced by minds from both major political parties, including the expansion of the low-income housing tax credit and the establishment of a new tax credit to support building and rehabilitating owner-occupied homes in distressed communities.
The proposed law also aims to reduce certain housing regulations, including collaborations between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Energy and others to “assess regulatory and other barriers to innovation in residential construction.”
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The bill also proposes permanently authorizing the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program and eliminating its current cap, which BPC says would “preserve access to federally-assisted housing,” and to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA).
“[NAHASDA’s] programs are the main source of federal assistance to ensure American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have access to safe, accessible, and affordable housing and authorize the Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) program, which is currently a demonstration,” the BPC writes in its proposal.
The bill also proposes boosting landlord participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, and to target families with young children for assistance through newly-created mobility housing vouchers and counseling.