House Committee Holds Hearing on Housing as Infrastructure
The House Financial Services Committee recently held a hearing entitled “Housing America: Assessing the Infrastructure Needs of America’s Housing Stock.” The hearing explored the need to produce and preserve affordable housing as part of the nation’s infrastructure and strategies to improve affordability. Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) said, “Congress must recognize that our nation’s infrastructure extends beyond making investments in our roads, bridges, ports, and airports. It also includes our nation’s affordable housing.”
The hearing focused primarily on Chairwoman Waters’ recently released draft legislation, Housing Is Infrastructure Act of 2019, which would authorize robust spending for various affordable housing programs including $70 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund, $10 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, $5 billion for the Housing Trust Fund, $5 billion for FEMA’s Predisaster Hazard Mitigation Program, $1 billion for the Native American Block Grant Program, and $100 million for HUD’s Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants. While Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC) thanked Chairwoman Waters for hosting the hearing and starting an important conversation about housing as infrastructure, he questioned such a large investment in what he called “outdated” programs.
Earlier this year, Waters introduced the Ending Homelessness Act of 2019 (H.R. 1856), which would appropriate $13.27 billion in emergency relief funding over five years for housing programs, including $5 billion to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants.