Waters introduces legislative package targeting housing

Wave Staff Report

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters has introduced a legislative package in Congress designed to increase housing supply, improve affordability, end homelessness and revive the dream of homeownership across the country.

The legislative package includes the Housing Crisis Response Act, which represents the housing investments that were previously included in Build Back Better Act; the Ending Homelessness Act and the Downpayment Toward Equity Act.

The Housing Crisis Response Act would invest more than $150 billion in fair and affordable housing investments to create nearly 1.4 million affordable and accessible homes, reduce housing costs for all and help address stubborn core inflation.

The Ending Homelessness Act would end homelessness and significantly reduce poverty by transforming the Housing Choice Voucher program into a federal entitlement, so that every household who qualifies for assistance receives it.

And the Downpayment Toward Equity Act would help revive the dream of homeownership for all by providing $100 billion in direct assistance to help first-time, first-generation homebuyers cover downpayments, closing costs and buydown mortgage interest rates, Waters said.

She spoke about the legislative package last week during the 2024 Democratic Issues Conference. 

Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, hosted a breakout session entitled, Housing for All: Tackling the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Crisis. The session included U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and other key housing and homelessness experts. 

During the panel, members discussed the spectrum of housing challenges across the country, legislative strategies to address it, and how members can work with their local communities to strengthen the delivery of housing resources to increase supply and lower costs.

During her opening remarks, Waters also announced a brand new initiative to work alongside Democratic members in the House of Representatives and local officials to lower the cost of development and reduce other local barriers to fair and affordable housing.