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VIDEO LINK: Maloney Introduces Key Bills Addressing Housing Shortage

Aug 20, 2021
Press Release

VIDEO LINK: Maloney Introduces Key Bills Addressing Housing Shortage

Washington, D.C. – This week, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced the introduction of the First-Time Homeowner Savings Plan Act and the Removing Environmental Hazards and Building Safely (REHABS) Act

Upon introduction, Rep. Maloney’s office hosted a virtual Housing Policy Roundtable with legislative staff and local experts to discuss the housing crisis in New York and his bills to help increase homeownership among newcomers to the housing market and low-income families

“I’m thankful for the overwhelming support of housing advocacy organizations that have joined me in fighting to ensure that we increase access to homeownership and that housing providers have the funds they need to make existing homes safe. These bills are necessary steps toward giving first-time homebuyers and low-income families a fighting chance to realize the American dream,” said Rep. Maloney. “Thank you to everyone who joined my office today for this important roundtable. I look forward to going back to Washington on Monday to continue the fight for better, smarter housing policies.”

“We envision a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” said Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess Executive Director Maureen Lashlee. “Our work is critical to families here in Dutchess County. I’m thankful to Congressman Maloney for leading this effort, which would enable us to remove environmental hazards and renovate more homes for folks in need.”  

As a native of Newburgh, I’m proud to play a role in directly impacting families in my hometown,” said Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh Executive Director Matt Arbolino. "I hope to revitalize more neighborhoods with the financial support that Congressman Maloney’s bill would provide. The creation of this grant program means that our efforts would no longer be limited by the cost of removing mold, lead, and asbestos.”  

“I’m thankful to Congressman Maloney for supporting a pathway that will allow local Habitat organizations to rehabilitate more homes and provide more homeownership opportunities that are both affordable and environmentally safe,” said Chris Vincent, vice president of government relations and advocacy at Habitat for Humanity International. "The grant program, created by the REHABS act, will help them continue and advance their work – building and improving safe and affordable homes for families in their communities – without fear of being unable to afford environmental abatement in homes that are slated for renovation.

The REHABS Act would establish a grant program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist in removing life-threatening contaminants in home restoration projects, which would encourage housing providers, like Habitat for Humanity, to continue renovating homes. The legislation would also require HUD to conduct a study of best practices for mold abatement methodologies for home renovation. Rep. Maloney originally introduced the REHABS Act in 2019 and has also successfully passed in the House of Representatives a portion of the bill as an amendment to the FY22 Minibus Appropriations bill with an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

In New York State alone, local Habitat for Humanities have spent over $3,000,000 in lead and asbestos abatement in the past few years. While the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have funding available through the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control (LHC), the Lead Hazard Reduction (LHRD), Brownfield, and Superfund programs to help with these costs, the restrictions of each program, as well as the limited available funds, confine the impact they can have on housing providers. 

The First-Time Homeowner Savings Plan Act will help combat the volatile and extremely competitive housing market. This bill would increase the current cap that first-time buyers can withdraw from their retirement accounts to assist with the purchase of a home, from $10,000 to $25,000. The current limit, enacted nearly 25 years ago and not indexed to inflation, has failed to combat the increasing costs.

The Facebook video from the discussion can be found on Rep. Maloney’s Facebook page and in high resolution here and here

Housing Roundtable Zoom