HUD Announces "Our Way Home" Initiative to Combat Housing Shortage

October 3rd, 2023  / Author: Cesar Gomez

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the beginning of the "Our Way Home" initiative to help the fight against homelessness and expensive housing. This program has one main goal, and that is to balance the supply and demand in the housing market by providing resources and tools for creating and preserving affordable housing.

The American government is investing a lot of effort in solving this problem, seeing as the housing market has been growing for the past two and a half years, but in a way that excludes people with medium and low salaries, renters, and many vulnerable groups of people.

The estimated median household income is $79,900, while a monthly mortgage payment rose to more than $2,000. On average, borrowers across the US are dedicating more than $24,000 each year to mortgage payments alone.

Renting isn't much easier either, as median monthly rent rose to a record-high $1200 for a one-bedroom apartment. In some urban areas, it is impossible to find a rental unless you earn $160K, which is double the median household income.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the entire Biden Administration is attempting to address these issues. They claim to have a plan to create affordable housing available for hundreds of thousands of people in the next five years.

The "Our Way Home" Initiative

The program was launched in four states on the first of June, and it is presented as a localized action to uplift communities that are creating affordable housing. This initiative is built from the President's Housing Supply Action Plan, and it is joining the forces of government from all levels.

According to HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, the initiative is not just about the delivery of funds for creating supply. It is rather a comprehensive set of tools and resources that will help communities build and preserve affordable housing. There will be roundtable discussions and listening sessions, where the representatives of the communities can have a say in the way this initiative will be implemented.

The idea is not only to build housing units but to build them in a way that offers equal economic opportunities to every resident. The economic opportunity in question refers to urbanism planning with transit connections in mind or using sustainable materials, as well as considering people in need of special services.

"Our Way Home" will offer the funds from the American Rescue Plan, as well as HUD-established funds for fighting homelessness. The American Rescue Plan is a stimulus bill provided as a countermeasure to economic difficulties caused by the pandemic. This initiative will be implemented locally so that all unique issues can be addressed individually.

Other Efforts to Fight Against the Shortage

The Biden-Harris Administration presented a plan that actually incorporates the "Our Way Home" initiative, amongst other tools and resources for combating this issue. The first thing that they focused on was jurisdictional reforms of zoning and land-use policies, as well as the deployment of new and expansion of existing forms of financial mechanisms for multifamily housing.

One of the key points in the plan even mentioned a great obstacle for regular homebuyers, and that is the presence of large investors who buy to rent and not to live in the dwelling.

Some reports show a shortage of 5.5 million housing units, others say 1.5 million, but one thing is certain - that gap will not be easy to eliminate. However, the government has an ambitious plan to close the historically large disparity in the housing market in five years. Even if this plan is too ambitious, making any progress is favorable for the Americans who are struggling more and more with inflation



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