Tlaib Introduces Public Housing for the 21st Century Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) introduced the Public Housing for the 21st Century Act which will provide public housing authorities, housing finance agencies, and other entities with the information and assistance they need to adopt the latest best practices in developing mixed-income public housing, from extremely low-income to moderate-income households.

“Housing is a human right,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “Yet the private market has failed to provide housing that is safe, accessible, and affordable for all. Public housing is a crucial lifeline, particularly for our most vulnerable residents. In the face of insufficient federal subsidies and as the push for new, locally driven public housing development is building nationwide, all locales should have easy access to the latest models and policy options.”

Roughly half of renter households—more than 21 million—are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Yet the production of additional affordable rental units is often constrained by the availability of federal subsidies, which have long been insufficient to address our housing crisis. Given such constraints, innovative state and local public developers like the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, Maryland are building affordable units by leveraging local policy tools, adopting innovative financing mechanisms, and utilizing market rate units to cross-subsidize below-market, affordable units.

Such mixed-income public housing promotes the financial stability and proper maintenance of housing developments, fosters community diversity and integration, and allows scarce federal subsidies to be targeted to the most vulnerable households.

This bill promotes innovative affordable housing development by directing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to identify best practices utilizing mixed-income, publicly owned housing and making information, training, and technical assistance on such best practices available to public housing agencies, state housing finance agencies, and other bodies.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) joined in support of this legislation as an original cosponsor.

This legislation is endorsed by: National Alliance to End Homelessness, Detroit People’s Platform, LISC Detroit, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, CPD Action, Public Housing Authorities Directors Association, Jain Family Institute, Community Service Society of New York, Ruth Ellis Center, Full Circle Communities, People’s Policy Project, Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, Mark Paul (Rutgers), and Yakov Feygin (Tufts).

“The Local Initiatives Support Corporation supports the Public Housing for the 21st Century Act of 2023,” said Camille Walker Banks, Executive Director of LISC Detroit. “The affordable housing needs of Detroit can only be addressed by marshaling all resources and strategies. This legislation would provide our community and others the information they need to support innovative publicly owned, mixed-income housing. We thank Rep. Tlaib for her leadership in providing local communities the best practices and training necessary to increase affordable housing options.”

“Jurisdictions across the country can accelerate the development of affordable housing by leveraging local resources, as HOC has done with its Housing Production Fund,” said Chelsea Andrews, Executive Director of the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC). “This model is fast, simple, and scalable. Facing a housing crisis that requires far more resources than existing subsidies provide, HOC has partnered with our county government to issue bonds and fund the construction of new mixed-income developments. Constructed in partnership with private developers, these developments are publicly owned, financially self-sustaining, and do not require limited resources such as Low Income Housing Tax Credits. By providing increased technical assistance, research, and coordination, the Public Housing for the 21st Century Act of 2023 would allow local governments to increase affordable housing production.”

“The United States is in the midst of a devastating affordable housing crisis—a crisis that is squeezing Americans in every single town across this country. The problem isn’t that people are living beyond their means, but rather that high quality affordable housing simply isn’t available to meet the needs of families. The Public Housing for the 21st Century Act makes important steps forward to support and speed the development of mixed-income public housing, precisely when it is needed most,” noted Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy Assistant Professor, Mark Paul.

The full text of the bill is available here.

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