Blog Statement RE: President Biden’s 2024 Budget

March 20, 2023

Contact: Jessamyn Garner

YIMBY Action applauds the Biden Administration’s prioritization of housing affordability and supply in their 2024 Budget, as described in the section titled “Lowers Housing Costs by Increasing Affordable Housing Supply and Expanding Access to Homeownership and Affordable Rent.”

In the past, the federal government has rarely taken actions to advance pro-housing policies like upzoning, funding for affordable housing, streamlining excessive permitting processes, and tenant protections. We are happy to see this Administration’s work on these issues as America faces the highest housing costs in its history, with prices far outpacing historically high inflation and supply approaching record lows.

The President’s proposal would include the following:

  • $59 billion in mandatory funding and tax incentives aimed at increasing the affordable housing supply
  • $10 billion in mandatory funding to incentivize State, local, and regional jurisdictions to make progress in removing barriers to affordable housing developments, such as restrictive zoning
  • $10 billion in mandatory funding for a new First-Generation Down Payment Assistance program to help address racial and ethnic homeownership and wealth gaps

These steps are crucial in increasing our nation’s dwindling housing supply over the next few years in order to bring down prices, expand housing choice, champion environmentally friendly living and transportation options, and reduce homelessness across the country. Many local governments, particularly those of the most affluent and exclusive communities, have shown hostility towards pro-housing policies that prioritize people over landlords, home values, and exclusionary zoning policies. The federal government’s involvement in housing policy is a necessary and welcomed step towards a society where housing policy can be championed, not criticized. While the President’s actions will not result in immediate change, we see a positive path forward should Congress adopt the President’s housing proposals in the 2024 Budget.

While we support the President’s proposals, we firmly believe that the Administration could go further toward addressing the housing shortage. Beyond exclusionary zoning, the Biden Administration should consider incentives for jurisdictions to remove parking minimums, low height restrictions, excessive setbacks and minimum lot sizes. The Administration should also incentivize the minimization of lengthy or expensive permitting processes that make it difficult or impossible to bring dense, affordable housing to market. Furthermore, the President should tie these changes to not just new subsidized affordable homes, but also market-rate ones. We all deserve to reap the benefits of pro-housing legislation, regardless of where we live.

Beyond pro-supply policies, we strongly urge the President to put forward a Renter’s Bill of Rights which would cement the right of renters across the country to guaranteed counsel, “just cause” eviction protections, and sealed eviction records. Furthermore, the budget should establish a recurring investment toward affordable housing so these appropriations don’t vary from one Administration to the next.

The President’s proposal is bold, people-first, and visionary. His plan addresses several areas of focus from fixing broken zoning policies to increasing funding for affordable housing. This focus on housing affordability is what we expect to see from representatives across the country, and we are proud to see it advocated for from the highest office in the land. YIMBY Action strongly encourages Congress to adopt the housing proposals in their fiscal year 2024 budget as proposed, and go even further to further legalize denser housing, protect tenants, and bring even more affordable units to market.