On October 28, President Biden announced a revised Build Back Better Act framework. That same day, House Democrats unveiled a new draft of the $1.75 trillion bill, H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act. (“Quick links” to all of the key documents are at the bottom of this note.)
While the White House narrowed its housing agenda with the latest compromise version of President Joe Biden’s social spending bill, lowering funding levels by half while also shifting the bill’s priorities, it’s still one of the largest affordable housing investments in history.
According to the Fact Sheet for President Biden’s revised Build Back Better Act framework, the Act will:
Make the single largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing in history. The framework will enable the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of more than 1 million affordable homes, boosting housing supply and reducing price pressures for renters and homeowners. It will address the capital needs of the public housing stock in big cities and rural communities all across America and ensure it is not only safe and habitable but healthier and more energy efficient as well. It will make a historic investment in rental assistance, expanding vouchers to hundreds of thousands of additional families. And, it includes one of the largest investments in down payment assistance in history, enabling hundreds of thousands of first-generation homebuyers to purchase their first home and build wealth. This legislation will create more equitable communities, through investing in community-led redevelopments projects in historically under-resourced neighborhoods and removing lead paint from hundreds of thousands of homes, as well as by incentivizing state and local zoning reforms that enable more families to reside in higher opportunity neighborhoods.
House Financial Services Committee Chair, Representative Maxine Waters and her colleagues had wanted $327 billion for rental assistance, affordable housing and other progressive priorities in the reconciliation bill. This figure was been cut in half: The new target is $150 billion, with funding for many of the same programs intact.
As a result, the balance of the housing investment has shifted from rental aid to public housing, according to the text of the bill. Funds to repair, replace or build public housing amount to $65 billion, down from a proposed $80 billion yet close to half the total housing package.
Help for low-income renters took the biggest hit during negotiations over the reconciliation bill, which is now targeting $1.75 trillion. While the original housing bill offered $90 billion for rental assistance — with $75 billion going to the Housing Choice Vouchers program, better known as Section 8 — the new bill includes $25 billion for renter support. Most of the funds will go toward housing vouchers for renters, while $1 billion will go to project-based vouchers that subsidize affordable apartment units.
Other policies favored by progressives remain in place. The newest version includes $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund, a program that supports the construction of deeply affordable housing, as well as $10 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the federal government’s largest block grant program for building and rehabbing affordable housing. Another $10 billion will go to down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers.
The reconciliation bill will also boost spending for scores of smaller housing programs, including investments in rural areas, tribal communities and colonias along the U.S.-Mexico border. It authorizes $1.75 billion for a new “Unlocking Possibilities” program, which provides housing policy grants to ease restrictive zoning, albeit without the stricter goals that lawmakers had previously discussed.
Below is a summary of the bill’s housing programs. Funding is for ten years unless otherwise indicated.
- $65 billion for public housing, including $53 billion for repair, replacement, and construction for five years
- $15 billion for new vouchers, renewals, and admin fees
- $7.1 billion for new vouchers for households at risk of or experiencing homelessness and for sexual violence survivors
- $1 billion for tenant protection vouchers related to funding for public housing preservation, renewals, and fees
- $300 million for mobility grants
- $880 million for project-based rental assistance
- $25 billion for HOME Investment Partnerships program
- $15 billion for the Housing Trust Fund
- $10 billion for HUD downpayment assistance for first generation homebuyers for five years
- $4 billion for a new program to allow first-time and first generation homebuyers to build equity more quickly
- $3 billion for the Community Restoration and Development Fund
- $1.77 billion for climate resilience and energy and water improvements to affordable housing
- $1.5 billion for revitalization of distressed multifamily properties
- $540 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and $160 million for HUD’s administration of FHIP and the Fair Housing Assistance Program
USDA Rural Housing Funding
- $1.8 billion for rural rental housing programs: Section 515 (rental housing); Section 514 & 516 (farmworker housing). These funds are for new construction, climate resilience, preservation, and to remove health and safety hazards.
- $150 million for a new program to allow first-time and first generation homebuyers to build equity more quickly
- $100 million for expanded rental assistance program available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
- $100 million for home repair grants
- Showing the text of H.R. 5376, as reported by the Committee on the Budget, with modifications.
- Text of H.R. 5376 PDF XML (as reported)
- Report Language
- H. Rept. 117-130, Book 1 PDF
- Report from the Committee on the Budget to accompany H.R. 5376, Book 1
- H. Rept. 117-130, Book 2 PDF
- Report from the Committee on the Budget to accompany H.R. 5376, Book 2
- H. Rept. 117-130, Book 3 PDF
- Report from the Committee on the Budget to accompany H.R. 5376, Book 3
- H. Rept. 117-130, Book 1 PDF
- Report Language