Senate Budget Committee Hearing Focuses on Expanding Affordable Housing through Increased Financing

Date Published: 
February 1st, 2024

On January 31, 2024, The Senate Committee on the Budget held a full committee hearing entitled, “A Blueprint for Prosperity: Expanding Housing Affordability.” The hearing primarily focused on how investing in housing can expand affordability and economic growth.

Chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) stated in his opening remarks that “nationwide, the shortage of affordable housing opportunities costs the American economy an estimated $2 trillion each year. High housing costs reduce disposable income and economic mobility, stifling economic opportunities.” Senator Whitehouse also expressed his support for Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs), the Community Development Block Grant, and HOME Investment Partnerships Program.


Hearing Highlights 

A variety of topics discussed during the hearing focused on investment in federal programs such as the HCV program and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the general need for more oversight of federal programs, and the effects of rising inflation on housing growth and affordability. While both Republican and Democrats acknowledged the need for more housing, Senators were divided on whether more federal investment is needed to improve America’s housing crisis.

The Subcommittee heard from five witnesses: Peggy Bailey, Vice President of Housing and Income Security for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing; Kevin Boyce, Commissioner and President of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners; Bill Slover, Principal of AVCO Interests, LLC; and Dr. Todd Walker, Walter Professor of Financial Economics at Indiana University. During her testimony, Ms. Bailey mentioned the importance of revitalizing public housing and expanding rental assistance programs. Ms. Ventura expressed her support for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit as an important financing tool to spur housing development and noted that passing the ACHIA would finance over 4,000 affordable homes alone in her state of Rhode Island.

Senators raised various topics related to source of income discrimination laws, homelessness, and expanding the HCV program. During the hearing, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) expressed his concern regarding the discrimination against voucher holders who are looking for housing in the private rental market. To combat this issue, Senator Kaine shared that he introduced S. 2846, the Fair Housing Improvement Act, which CLPHA endorsed. If enacted, the bill would amend the Fair Housing Act to include “source of income” and military and veteran status to prohibit housing discrimination. During his remarks, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) shared that it is important to support rental assistance programs like the HCV program while providing wraparound services to our most vulnerable communities. Senator Van Hollen spoke about his bipartisan-backed bill, S. 1257, Family Stability and Opportunities Vouchers Act, another bill CLPHA endorsed. If enacted, the bill would authorize 250,000 new housing mobility vouchers paired with mobility-related wraparound services to end homelessness and help low-income families with young children.

Find a link to the full hearing, witness testimony, and the committee memorandum here: Hearing | Hearings | U.S. Senate Committee On The Budget.

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