Clinton’s “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda” proposes bold changes to aid homebuyers and renters
Hillary Clinton announced a $25 billion housing reform plan as part of her “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda,” which outlines her plans for economic reform, should she be elected to the presidency.
The key points for the housing part of the plan are to revitalize communities hurt by physical decay, improve economic support in high-poverty neighborhoods, help Americans obtain homeownership and put rising rents in check.
The plan will be paid for by a tax on Wall Street, although details on the specifics of the tax were not described in the plan.
Focusing On Core Problems
The plan’s focus on homeownership and aiding renters could be a boon for those who have been struggling since the downturn. Clinton’s plan suggests adding additional Low Income Housing Tax Credits in areas where demand exceeds the supply, in order to offset rising rents and assist renters in making the transition to homeownership. More Americans are renting now than ever, with the homeownership rate at its lowest rate since 1967. The tax credits would offset the fact that rents have increased 7 percent since 2001, while renter income has decreased by 9 percent.
On the homeownership side, the plan proposes clarifying lending requirements, updating underwriting tools and supporting counseling programs, in order to allow low-credit Americans access to homeownership; such consumers have vanished from the market after strict restrictions were set in place during the downturn, and many do not realize counseling programs exist in the first place – 40 percent of respondents to a recent NeighborWorks America survey saying they had received no information at all about assistance programs.
Clinton’s plan also proposes encouraging land-use strategies for communities to build affordable housing. As of 2013, there were only 7.2 million units of affordable housing for 11.1 million low-income renters, or 34 rentals to every 100 renters. In large counties of 500,000 or more people, the problem was even worse, with 25 affordable units to every 100 renters.
Clinton Not Seen as Helpful for Housing
The new housing proposals may be a way for Clinton to address pitfalls in her platform.
In a January survey, Redfin asked which candidates would be able to help the housing market the most. Twenty-three percent of respondents preferred a different candidate to the ones currently running when it comes to politics and housing. Bernie Sanders came in second at 22 perecent, Trump came in third with 21 percent and Clinton was fourth at 20 percent. Ted Cruz, and other candidates, were far behind these four choices, with only 4 percent for Cruz.
It’s also worth noting that only a fourth of respondents considered housing an important issue this year.