With the 2016 presidential election inching closer at a seemingly glacial pace, one issue that many of the main candidates have neglected to address is housing and its impact on the country’s economy.
Several now-former candidates for President spoke at last year’s New Hampshire Housing Summit hosted by the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families and the Bipartisan Policy Center, but housing doesn’t often get mentioned in the stump speeches of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
But it appears that is about to change as Clinton, the Democratic hopeful and former Secretary of State, recently announced a sweeping economic agenda that includes some major housing reforms.
Part of Clinton’s $125 billion program is a $25 billion housing investment program that aims to “lift more families into sustainable homeownership,” by offering down payment assistance, increasing housing counseling programs, expanding beyond traditional credit scores, building more affordable rental housing, clarifying lending rules and other changes.
Clinton’s campaign states that the $25 billion housing investment program targets the blight that is still dragging down many communities, addresses “skyrocketing” rents that are impacting the country’s working families, and the “barriers” that prevent many families from becoming homeowners.
“Homeownership is about more than just owning a home. It is about putting roots down in a community with better schools, safer streets and good jobs,” Clinton’s campaign states.
“And it is about building wealth, as homeowners build equity in their home one mortgage payment at a time,” Clinton’s campaign continues. “But this opportunity is increasingly out of reach for too many families, particularly families of color.”
Clinton’s plan also addresses the “skyrocketing rise of rental costs in areas of opportunity.”
According to Clinton’s campaign, nearly half of all renters between age 25 and 34 pay 30% or more of their monthly income on rent, and one-fourth pay over half of their income on rent.
“High rents not only weigh heavily on the pocketbooks of these families but often displace entire communities in the face of local growth,” Clinton’s campaign states. “There is simply not enough affordable rental housing in many parts of the country to keep up with new demand, driving prices in these areas to a level that is unaffordable for large segments of the population.”
Clinton’s plan will tackle these issues by “increasing incentives for new affordable rental housing development and easing the local barriers to building affordable housing in areas of economic opportunity.”