Bill for transit-oriented affordable housing gets support from MBA
With the ongoing issue of the affordable housing crisis, the Mortgage Bankers Association got behind the Build More Housing Near Transit Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives.
The MBA signed a letter of support to the legislation introduced by Reps. Scott Peters, D-Calif., and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., joining 15 other industry and consumer trade groups, including Habitat for Humanity, National Association of Realtors and the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Many credit unions are members of the MBA, and the industry has been taking more steps in recent months to get involved in issues related to affordable housing, though there are questions about how widespread an impact credit unions can have on such a large problem.
The bill would change the rating criteria for how new transit projects get funded by the federal Transit Administration and require housing feasibility assessments, prioritizing commitments to market-rate and affordable housing. The lack of affordable housing is most apparent closest to city centers where transit is abundant.
"This shortage of homes means families are paying more for rent, often living further away from jobs and critical services, fewer families are becoming new homeowners and the country is not living up to its full economic potential," the letter stated. "Nearly half of the country's renter households are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on housing. The Build More Housing Near Transit Act would spur the development of much-needed housing near transit locations, fulfilling critical transit, housing, economic development and environmental goals."
Recent answers to close the affordable housing gap include leveraging credit unions and the use of down payment assistance programs from state housing finance agencies. However, construction hasn't kept pace with the growing number of potential buyers. Increased transit-proximate housing would also affect climate change because there would be fewer cars on the road, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"Our bill will maximize federal investment in transit and increase housing options for families across the country," Rep. Peters said in a press release. "On top of that, we can protect our environment by increasing transit ridership and getting more cars off the road."