Downpayment Toward Equity

July 16, 2021 - Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, filed three bills representing a generational investment in housing. 

"On behalf of the thousands of first-generation homebuyers who have taken our homeownership education classes in Massachusetts and the millions more nationwide, we applaud Chairwoman Maxine Waters and the House Financial Services Committee for authoring and filing this vital and historic initiative," said Symone Crawford, MAHA's Dire ctor of STASH and Home owne rs hip Ope rations ."Our indefensible racial wealth and homeownership gaps in the United States did not happen by accident. It is the result of intentional policies by government and the private sector that created these gaps and we can only narrow and close those gaps with equally intentional efforts. Supporting first-generation homebuying, those without the so-called Bank of Mom and Dad, is an importa nt vehicle for achieving those goals. In Massachusetts, we have one of the nation’s widest racial homeownership gaps. We needsolutions like the Downpayment Toward Equity Act now."

“Our nation is in the midst of a housing crisis, which has been decades in the making. Due to a consistent lack of investment in affordable housing under Democratic and Republican administrations, we now find ourselves at a crossroads. To this day, more than 580,000 people are experiencing homelessness, 10.5 million households are paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent, and more than 20 million mortgage-ready individuals are unable to realize their dream of homeownership. Without a stable home, children cannot thrive; without a stable home, families are forced to choose between a roof over their head and a meal; and without a stable home, many people lack the foundation necessary to plan for the future.

“Now, for the first time in a generation, we have a real opportunity to fix these deep-rooted issues in our housing system. We can end homelessness. We can make rental housing affordable. We can provide the American dream of homeownership. We can do all of this by finally making the investments that we have postponed, diminished, or denied for years. The reconciliation bill provides us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide the housing resources that our country so desperately needs.

“For these reasons, I am introducing legislation that ends homelessness, supports first-generation homebuyers in purchasing their first home, and ensures that housing is infrastructure. Now is the time to finally make housing a top priority and these bills do just that. This historic investment should be included in budget reconciliation as it will change housing as we know it for the better. We’ve waited long enough for housing to be a priority. The time to act is now.”

The legislative housing package led by Congresswoman Maxine Waters includes:

  • The Housing is Infrastructure Act of 2021 would provide a historic investment of over $600 billion in equitable, affordable, and accessible housing infrastructure. This generational investment would address our national eviction and homelessness crises, increase access to homeownership, and support a robust recovery from the pandemic by creating jobs, addressing climate change, and improving housing stability for struggling households. Click here for bill text. 
  • The Ending Homelessness Act of 2021 would end homelessness and significantly reduce poverty in America by transforming the Housing Choice Voucher program into a federal entitlement, so that every household who qualifies for assistance would receive it. The lead cosponsors of this bill are Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY). Click here for bill text. 
  • The Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 would help address the U.S. racial wealth and homeownership gaps by providing $100 billion toward downpayment and other financial assistance for first-generation homebuyers to purchase their first home. The lead cosponsors of this bill are Representative Al Green (D-TX), Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Representative Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Representative Cindy Axne (D-IA), and Representative Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). Click here for bill text.