NAR Applauds Fair Housing, Transportation Funding in Appropriations Bill

July 9, 2020

The National Association of REALTORS® supports a House subcommittee’s move to include fair housing counseling and transportation infrastructure funding in its 2021 proposed spending bill.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies approved the fiscal year 2021 bill on Wednesday. Now it heads to the full committee for approval.

More specifically, the bill includes increased investments in HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program and its Fair Housing Assistance Program. It also safeguards housing protections for LGBTQ Americans and includes funding for several transportation infrastructure programs that are aimed at increasing domestic economic growth.

The legislation provides $158.3 billion in base budgetary resources and $75 billion to support the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by investing in the nation’s transportation and housing infrastructure.

“Our nation is facing an infrastructure crisis, with crumbling roads, aging transit and rail systems, lack of affordable and safe housing, and natural disasters increasing in severity and number,” says David Price, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies. “Meanwhile, COVID-19 is ravaging communities, revealing and deepening existing disparities, while leaving state and local governments with fewer resources and more responsibility to respond. … The Fiscal Year 2021 ‘THUD’ funding bill seeks to confront these problems head on.”

Last week, NAR sent a letter to congressional leadership that called for “major increases” in fair housing and counseling funds in the 2021 budget. HUD’s Fair Housing Initiative Program directs funding to nonprofit organizations that protect victims of housing discrimination. The FHIP is a program that NAR has strongly backs.

“The American people are calling on institutions across the country to make stronger commitments to eradicate systemic discrimination,” NAR President Vince Malta wrote in the letter, dated July 1. “NAR supports a strong FHIP program in recognition that paired testing, as conducted by qualified fair housing organizations, is critical to exposing and redressing unlawful housing discrimination.”

Another letter was sent by NAR on July 8 to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, And Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Financial Services, thanking members for prioritizing housing stability during the pandemic. Safe and secure access to housing for American families is critical for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and has been the rock of many American households. The letter urges further action on rental assistance, eviction policy clarity for housing providers, credit score information, and housing counseling. 

“The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic threatens housing security for many Americans,” Malta writes in the letter. “As forbearance measures end, many homeowners may struggle with their repayment plans. Housing counseling could be an effective tool to help them manage their finances and remain in their homes after the pandemic ends.”

The letter urges Congress to take action on rental assistance, eviction policy clarity for housing providers, credit score information, and housing counseling. “Safe and secure access to housing for American families is critical for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” the letter states.