May 19, 2021

Cortez Masto Introduces Legislation to Expand Affordable Housing

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced legislation to expand affordable housing in Nevada and across the country by making more funding available to the Housing Trust Fund (HTF), which has a track record of success in building and renovating affordable housing. The Affordable Housing Production Act would redirect Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funding returned to the Department of the Treasury to the HTF to help secure and preserve affordable housing in communities across the United States. 

“Even before the pandemic hit, Nevada had one of the worst affordable housing crises in the country, and we need to provide substantial federal support to our communities to address their housing needs,” said Cortez Masto. “This legislation will make sure we are investing federal housing resources where they’ll be most effective. I’ll continue to work to make sure Nevadans can find safe, stable, and affordable places to live.”

“The lack of affordable housing has put too many working families on the brink in California and across the country,” Senator Padilla said. “Increasing the supply of affordable housing has to be a major priority as we begin to rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Shifting existing federal funding to the Housing Trust Fund is a smart move to invest in more housing production.”

“Throughout my community in California’s Inland Empire and across the country, people are struggling to keep a roof overhead as a result of this pandemic,” Rep. Norma J. Torres said. “The Affordable Housing Production Act is a smart way to keep people in their homes despite COVID’s economic impact, and puts funds that are just sitting in Treasury to good use. It’s a common-sense solution at a time when we need them most. I thank Senator Cortez-Masto for her partnership on this important issue by introducing companion legislation to my bill in the House, the Keep Your Home and Prevent Homelessness Act. I’m excited to see this legislation continue gaining momentum.”

To address the 2008 financial crisis, Congress created several programs to help homeowners avoid foreclosure as part of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Under existing law, money from these funds returns to the Treasury if affected homeowners sell their homes. Cortez Masto’s bill would instead direct these unspent or leftover TARP funds to the Housing Trust Fund (HTF), which provides affordable rental homes to very low-income people, including families with children, people with disabilities, the elderly, people experiencing homelessness, and veterans. Since the program began in 2017, it has completed 895 units for individuals or families earning under 30% of the Area Median Income.

Senator Cortez Masto has been a leader in the Senate promoting affordable housing. She is leading legislation to hold lenders accountable for housing discrimination and recently worked to secure housing provisions in the American Rescue Plan that will provide $30 billion in rental and critical utilities assistance. In other recent COVID relief legislation, Cortez Masto has consistently called to increase the supply of new homes, and she cosponsored a change to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit that will provide for an additional 130,000 affordable homes throughout the nation by 2030. She has advocated for and secured increased funding for proven programs that build new housing developments, provide rental assistance, aid people experiencing homelessness, provide housing counseling and expand vouchers, and enforce fair housing laws.

Cortez Masto’s legislation is cosponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), and companion legislation, H.R. 2292, has been introduced by Representative Norma J. Torres (D-Calif.-35).