Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced two bills to address the affordable housing crisis in Nevada by reauthorizing existing affordable housing programs and doing more to fight housing discrimination. Both the HOME Investment Partnership Reauthorization Act and the Housing Fairness Act of 2020 would authorize an increase in the amount of federal funds available for affordable housing and strengthen fair housing enforcement.
“Housing is a fundamental need and the key to personal dignity and financial stability for so many in Nevada,” said Senator Cortez Masto, “especially as the pandemic continues to spread. I’m proud to introduce these two bills to increase the supply of affordable homes for low-income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as to strengthen enforcement of laws against discrimination. My priority is to get Nevadans the help they need to find a safe, stable place to live, both during these difficult times and as the Silver State recovers. I’ll keep fighting in the Senate to make sure everyone in Nevada has a place to call home.”
“California is facing an affordable housing crisis,” said Representative John Garamendi, author of the House version of the HOME Investment Partnership Reauthorization Act. “Minimum wage workers have to work a 91-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 address their housing needs. I’m thankful to Senator Cortez Masto for introducing the companion legislation in the Senate, and we will both work tirelessly until this legislation becomes law.”
“The Arc of the United States supports the HOME Investment Partnerships Reauthorization Act of 2020,” said Molly Burgdorf, Director of Rights Policy at The Arc of the United States. “We know how important it is to increase the supply of affordable and accessible housing options that are integrated in the community, including home ownership and rental housing, to address the considerable unmet needs of people with disabilities and their families. We appreciate the leadership of Senator Cortez Masto on this important bill.”
Congressman Al Green, who authored the House version of the Housing Fairness Act of 2020, added, “It was over 50 years ago that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was enacted to protect all Americans from invidious discrimination in housing. Unfortunately, housing discrimination has persisted in our society and worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Housing Fairness Act is an historic piece of legislation that would work to combat this phenomenon by increasing funding for fair housing programs as well as providing additional funds for much-needed research into housing discrimination. I commend Senator Cortez Masto for all her hard work and dedication to this important bill.”
“For four years, the Trump administration used every opportunity to gut our nation’s critical civil rights and fair housing laws, undermining efforts to undo historic and ongoing, government-driven patterns of housing discrimination and segregation throughout the U.S.,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Congress should immediately pass the Housing Fairness Act to rebuild HUD’s commitment to fair housing and civil rights and to take long-overdue steps towards racial equity.”
Senator Cortez Masto is a staunch advocate for affordable housing in Nevada, which faces one of the greatest shortages of affordable housing in the nation. In 2020, she worked to ensure the Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation retained $18 million to help more than 1,400 families pay their mortgages or down payments. During the coronavirus pandemic, she cosponsored legislation to provide $75 billion in housing assistance to help families struggling to pay their mortgage. Senator Cortez Masto also introduced the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020 to establish a new $100 billion program to help families and individuals pay their rent and remain housed during and after the coronavirus crisis.
Senator Cortez Masto introduced the following bills as part of her effort to promote affordable housing in Nevada and across the nation:
The HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. HOME funding gives states and local governments flexibility to address their communities’ specific housing needs. HOME funds are used to finance a wide variety of affordable housing activities, such as construction and rehabilitation of rental housing, tenant-based rental assistance, rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing, and assistance to home buyers. The HOME Investment Partnership Reauthorization Act would reauthorize the HOME Investment Partnership Program for 5 more years, provide an annual 5% increase of appropriations and make technical corrections to the program. The HOME Investment Partnership Reauthorization Act was first introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman John Garamendi (D-Calif.-3). In addition to Senator Cortez Masto, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) cosponsored the legislation.
The full text of the bill is available here.
Since its passage in 1968, the Fair Housing Act has given government the ability to remedy and resolve housing discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and familial status. However, housing discrimination remains a widespread problem in the United States. Fair housing complaints have remained steady over the past years, with 28,880 complaints in 2019. The Trump Administration has weakened fair housing protections and rescinded efforts to eliminate segregation. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to exacerbate housing discrimination, since communities of color face disproportionate economic effects that may cause them to move and face discrimination. The Housing Fairness Act of 2020 would reaffirm HUD’s commitment to fair housing by increasing funding for fair housing programs, making improvements to the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, reinstating the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, and providing additional funds for research into housing discrimination. The Housing Fairness Act of 2020 was first introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Al Green (D-Tex.-9). In addition to Senator Cortez Masto, Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) cosponsored the legislation.
The full text of the bill is available here.