Rep. Axne, Financial Services Committee Pave Way for More than $1 Billion in Iowa Housing Investments
Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to advance legislation out of the House Committee on Financial Services that paves the way for more than $1 billion in housing investments for Iowa.
The legislation, which comprises the Financial Services Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act, also provides funding for programs that Axne fought to prioritize over the past two years: manufactured home affordability and expanded affordable housing options in rural areas.
“Access to safe, affordable housing is the bedrock on which all other success and prosperity is built. Especially over this past year and a half, we’ve seen how critical it is for Iowa families to have a roof over their head that they can count on,” said Rep. Axne. “As Vice Chair of the Financial Services Committee’s Housing Subcommittee, housing has been a top priority of mine this Congress. I’ve introduced legislation to support residents of our manufactured housing communities, ensure renters have access to affordable housing in our rural areas, and preserve the existing affordable housing stock that we already have in Iowa. With this portion of our Build Back Better agenda, Iowa will see housing investments that will support more than a decade of construction and preservation – and help Iowans in need get the secure and safe roof under which they can grow and thrive.”
The legislation approved by the Financial Services Committee includes:
- An investment in the HOME Investment Partnerships Program that would yield $300 million in grants to Iowa, which can fund building, buying, and rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or homeownership as well as providing direct rental assistance
- This funding is projected to provide $25 million in grants directly to the City of Des Moines
- An estimated $235 million investment from the Housing Trust Fund to produce and preserve affordable housing for low-income Iowans
- $75 million in Community Development Block Grants to support economic development and affordable housing in both Iowa’s urban and rural communities
- Funding to support Iowa’s public housing system, as well as $75 billion for new Housing Vouchers to provide additional Iowa households with rental assistance
- Currently, about 20,000 Iowa households utilize these vouchers; estimated to be only about one quarter of the total number of eligible families
Funding for the new $10 billion Housing Investment Fund (HIF) created in this bill can be used to enable non-profits and other entities to purchase manufactured housing communities (MHCs) for long term use as affordable housing.
An additional $500 million will also available to build and update key infrastructure for resident-owned and other affordable MHCs, which will prevent further rent increases to pay for new water or sewer systems, roads, and will update housing to improve energy efficiency and better protect residents from flooding or natural disasters.
These provisions reflect concepts first proposed by Rep. Axne through her Manufactured Housing Community Preservation Act.
The legislation approved today includes $4.8 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to invest in new construction, preservation, and revitalization of rural multifamily housing, the first investment in new USDA-backed multifamily housing in 10 years.
This investment in rural housing was initially sought by Rep. Axne earlier this year with her introduction of the Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act.
These investments would build on investments in housing already allocated by legislation approved with the help of Rep. Axne.
Recently, the State of Iowa announced an allocation of $100 million for affordable housing programs funded by the American Rescue Plan, which Rep. Axne helped see signed into law in March.
The legislation also includes:
- $6 billion for loans and grants to increase energy and water efficiency and climate resiliency in affordable multifamily housing
- $10 billion for grants to reduce lead exposure in affordable housing
- $10 billion to provide down payment assistance for first generation homebuyers
- $2.5 billion for Section 202 housing for older Americans
- $1 billion for Section 811 housing for people with disabilities
- $200 million for USDA grants and loans to support rural homeownership
The Financial Services Committee’s section of the Build Back Better Act will be added with sections approved by other committees to be compiled by the House Budget Committee later this month before advancing to the House Floor for final approval