Garamendi introduces bill to address California’s affordable housing crisis

HOME Investment Partnerships Reauthorization and Improvement Act would fund new units throughout state

Rep. John Garamendi. Official photo.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, U.S. Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA08) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH03) reintroduced updated legislation to help address the affordable housing crisis. Their HOME Investment Partnerships Reauthorization and Improvement Act would significantly increase the amount of federal funds available for affordable housing across the country. Companion legislation is being introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).  

“Hardworking Californians face a drastic shortage of affordable housing options,” said Congressman Garamendi. “Minimum wage workers have to work an 88-hour week on average to afford a modest one-bedroom rental at a fair market rate. This legislation reauthorizes the HOME Investment Partnership Program for the first time since 1994 to bring this crucial program into the 21st century and provide states and local governments with the funding to construct and rehabilitate affordable rental housing as well as provide homeownership opportunities for working families. I’m thankful to Senator Cortez Masto for introducing the companion legislation in the Senate, and we will work tirelessly until this legislation becomes law.” 

“Families across Ohio and the United States are facing a daunting affordable housing crisis that demands creative, collaborative solutions,” said Rep. Beatty. “For more than three decades, the HOME program has provided essential gap funding for states and communities across the nation to address their most pressing housing challenges. I am proud to join Senator Cortez Masto and Congressman Garamendi in leading this legislation to authorize ample funding for HOME for the next five years and to make critical improvements to the program that will ensure more American families have access to safe, affordable housing.” 

“We have to do more to address our affordable housing crisis and increase the supply of affordable homes for Nevada families,” said Senator Masto. “The HOME program delivers critical funding to help communities build new housing units, support rental assistance, and support new homebuyers – but it needs to be updated to meet today’s needs. My legislation reauthorizing, improving and expanding this vital program will ensure more Nevadans have a quality, affordable place to call home.” 

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) is the largest federal affordable housing block grant and is HUD’s flagship affordable housing production program. Since 1990, HOME has helped state and local housing agencies support a wide variety of housing needs, from financing new construction and home repairs to funding down payment and rental assistance. It also provides additional funding to housing developments financed by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, helping the program serve more extremely low-income people including seniors, veterans, those experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities. Since 1992, the HOME program in California has: 

  • Invested $5.27 billion into housing across the state;
  • Built or preserved 121,727 homes;
  • Given rental assistance to 43,840 families;
  • Supported 277,318 jobs; and
  • Generated $19.2 billion in local income.

The program was last re-authorized in 1994 and needs critical updates to better address today’s housing crisis. Garamendi’s HOME Investment Partnerships Reauthorization and Improvement Act would reauthorize the HOME program and make several much-needed improvements. Specifically, it would: 

  • Authorize $5 billion in HOME funding for fiscal year 2024 and boost the funding for the program by five percent annually through 2028. Garamendi’s legislation would address chronic underfunding of the affordable housing investment program, which received only $1.5 billion in 2023;
  • Improve HOME’s ability to provide downpayment assistance to homebuyers and home repair assistance to homeowners; 
  • Enable HOME funds to support Community Land Trusts and other shared equity homeownership programs; and
  • Increase access to HOME funds for nonprofits and provide state and local governments loan guarantee options that would allow them to leverage their future HOME funds for investments today. 

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Shontel Brown (D-OH), André Carson (D-IN), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Glenn Ivey (D-MD), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Andrea Salinas (D-OR), Emilia Sykes (D-OH), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Nikema Williams (D-GA), and Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), John Fetterman (D-PA), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV). It is also supported by the National Council of State Housing Agencies, Council of State Community Development Agencies, Enterprise Community Partners, Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), Grounded Solutions Network, National Multifamily Housing Council, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, National Community Development Association, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), National Association of Realtors (NAR), National CAPACD, Habitat for Humanity, National Apartment Association and National Association for Community Economic Development Associations. 

Representative Garamendi has spent his entire career advocating for affordable housing, robust homeowner protections, and rental assistance programs. As California’s first-ever elected Insurance Commissioner, Garamendi successfully implemented Proposition 103, which reformed the homeowner insurance industry and lowered homeownership insurance rates. Last year, Garamendi and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) led members of California’s congressional delegation in sending a letter to California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara urging him to use his power under state law to protect homeowners in the face of an insurance crisis. During his congressional tenure, Garamendi worked with Habitat for Humanity to establish a financing mechanism that utilized existing funding to build new veteran housing units. Garamendi originally introduced the HOME Investment Partnership Reauthorization Act in 2020 and has continued to champion the legislation in Congress. He is also a cosponsor of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would support the financing of more affordable housing by expanding and strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.  

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