President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan Build Back Better bill this afternoon. The President calls the bill a “blue-collar blueprint” to rebuild America.
The infrastructure bill is a $1.2 trillion legislation that includes investments in affordable housing.
Public Housing Repairs
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates a $40 billion backlog of “unmet renovations” in public housing. With more than 1.8 million people living in public housing, CPBB recommended a $70 billion investment in public housing renovations. The Build Back Better legislation includes $65 billion.
Broadband and Rental Assistance
Navigate has been following how broadband access is essential for low-income households. Build Back Better provides $65 billion for broadband investments. In addition, the infrastructure bill provides $25 billion in rental assistance to help millions of families of all incomes.
Lead Pipe Replacement
Build Back better also provides $15 billion to replace lead pipes. It’s estimated more than nine million homes in the nation get their water lead pipes. Lead exposure is harmful to children’s health. The Centers for Disease Control says it can damage the brain and nervous system and lead to slowed growth and development. The CDC also says lead exposure creates learning, behavior, hearing, and speech problems.
“The best long-term solution to upgrading our water infrastructure and protecting health,” according to the Environmental Defense Fund, “is to fully replace the country’s remaining lead service lines on both public and private property.”
The law earmarks $21 billion for environmental cleanup. We’ve highlighted it here because the Environmental Protection Agency points to “brownfield redevelopment” in infill locations as possible housing sites.
“Brownfield redevelopment can transform abandoned and underused sites into community and economic assets such as parks and plazas, mixed-use developments, and homes.”
Cleaning up these locations creates more space for building housing affordability.
Housing Trust Fund
Build Back Better also gives $15 billion to the Housing Trust Fund (HTF). According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, HTF “is the only federal housing program exclusively focused on providing states with resources targeted to serve households with the clearest, most acute housing needs.”