WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The government wants to help renters and homeowners with rising housing costs. The Biden administration announced a new affordable housing plan on Monday.
Deputy National Economic Council Director Bharat Ramamurti says the focus is increasing the supply of available living spaces.
“The way to bring costs down for families in a sustainable way is to make sure that there are more homes available,” Ramamurti said.
He says the administration’s plan aims to do that with new financing options and expanded access to certain tax credits and loans.
“Make it easier for developers to build new homes, finish those homes, and get them into the hands of people who really need them,” Ramamurti said.
National Housing Conference CEO David Dworkin applauds their steps.
“What the administration is doing is its saying, so what are the federal levers that are going to make a difference,” Dworkin said.
The plan also pressures local governments to change complicated zoning regulations. And it reforms existing housing programs.
“Streamline and simplify them in order to make the dollars we are currently appropriating go further,” Dworkin said.
In addition, President Joe Biden is asking Congress to pass legislation that tackles the issue of affordable housing.
“There are certain things we can only do with Congress and one of those things is to make significant changes to our tax code,” Ramamurti said.
The Biden administration is pushing for lawmakers to expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and pass the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act.
“They have bipartisan support and there is no reason why they couldn’t be taken up on their own,” Dworkin said.
He cautions that there is no magic wand for housing, so these efforts will take time.
“Regardless of when it happens, if we make this investment now it will absolutely make a difference and I think that’s what we have to be thinking,” Dworkin said.
Right now the administration believes there is a shortfall of about 1.5 million homes and their plan is aimed at closing that gap in five years.