Clinton Unveils Economic Revitalization Initiative with Housing Policies
Presidential candidate Secretary Hillary Clinton on February 12 released her “Economic Revitalization Initiative,” which includes a number of housing-related policy proposals she would support should she be elected president. The plan envisions an investment of $25 billion in various initiatives supporting community revitalization, connecting high-poverty neighborhoods to opportunity, removing barriers to homeownership, and increasing the supply of rental housing.
Clinton proposes to defend the Housing Credit and to increase Housing Credit authority in communities where demand for Credits far exceeds supply. The proposal states, “The additional credits will be allocated through a competitive process to those cities and states that are in the best position to use them effectively,” but does not provide further detail about how the competition would function.
She also plans to encourage communities to implement land use strategies that would ease local barriers to affordable rental housing by making funding available through her proposed infrastructure bank and other competitive grant programs to communities that enact new land use rules.
Clinton’s plan includes several proposals to help low- and moderate-income families become homeowners. Most notably, she would provide federal funding to help borrowers afford a down payment. The money would be disbursed to programs operating in underserved communities, to be used to provide borrowers with incomes below the area median up to $10,000 in down payment assistance to match the borrower’s own savings.
Other homeownership initiatives in Clinton’s plan include:
- Increased funding for housing counseling;
- Directing all government mortgage insurance programs (FHA, USDA, and VA) to clarify their lending regulations and pushing them to adopt new credit scoring models;
- Ensuring that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) remains an independent agency; and
- Fully enforcing fair housing and fair lending laws.
Additionally, her plan supports efforts to combat blight, including the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Hardest Hit Fund. She maintains that Congress has not provided enough resources to these programs to address the challenges the nation faces. She also would provide local governments with new resources and flexibility to address both commercial districts as well as residential neighborhoods.
Clinton also says she would support the Choice Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative programs and work to expand the options for voucher holders so that they would have greater access to neighborhoods with available jobs and better schools.
The plan also supports economic development initiatives, including a $50 billion infrastructure and opportunity fund and an additional $50 billion investment in youth employment, reentry support for the formerly incarcerated, and support for entrepreneurship and small business growth in underserved communities, including an expansion of the New Markets Tax Credit.
NCSHA is examining the policy statements of other major presidential candidates and will continue to report on the candidates’ housing positions and proposals as they are released.