Via Teleconference

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, and greetings to everyone.

So, every American deserves affordable housing.  Yet, in communities across our nation, the cost of housing is just too high. 

Part of the reason for the high cost of housing is a lack of supply.  In many communities, there’s simply not enough affordable housing available and significant barriers prevent more from being built. 

So, today, I am proud to announce we are investing $85 million, with another $100 million later this summer, to help more than 20 cities remove these barriers. 

One such barrier is that it can be difficult for affordable housing developers to be able to afford to buy and develop land.  To address this, in Milwaukee, our investment will help the city provides subsidies to builders to help them develop vacant lots and abandoned buildings into affordable housing.

Another barrier that often limits building is insufficient infrastructure.  For example, in Denver, there are plots of land available but not yet connected to the electric grid.  Through this investment, we will help Denver offer loans to developers to build the power lines and water mains that are necessary for new housing.

This investment is part of a larger strategy to lower rents and help more Americans buy a home.  President Biden and I have proposed a national housing plan to build 2 million units of affordable housing. 

Our plan will also help millions of families afford to buy their first home.  We will give folks who are the first in their family — first generation in their family to buy a home $25,000 for a down payment, and we’ll give millions of first-time homebuyers $400 a month to help them meet their mortgage. 

We continue to demand that the United States Congress pass our housing plan. 

Throughout my career, I have worked to protect homeowners and renters and help more Americans take advantage of the wealth-building power — the intergenerational wealth-building power of homeownership.

As Attorney General of California, I drafted and helped pass the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which was one of the first in the nation to protect consumers from unfair mortgages and predatory foreclosure practices.  And I secured $20 billion for homeowners that were harmed by the big banks during the foreclosure crisis. 

As Vice President, I have continued this work on behalf of homeowners and renters.  Since taking office, we’ve prevented excessive rent increases for 2 million low-income families; we are cracking down on corporate landlords who break antitrust laws and keep rents high; we are working to ban rental junk fees that cost renters hundreds of dollars a month — for example, unnecessary fees for mail forwarding or to pay rent online; and we have helped nearly 700,000 homeowners save close to $1,000 a year by reducing the cost of mortgage insurance. 

Since taking office, we have made progress in lowering housing costs.  And there is more work to do.  President Biden and I will continue to fight to help more Americans afford to pay their rent and be able to afford to buy a home. 

I thank you all.  And now I’m going to turn it over to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who has been doing extraordinary work — and I thank you for that — Adrianne Todman.

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