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HUD Focuses On Home Ownership Improvements

Following the end of National Homeownership Month in June, a time to highlight efforts to help families achieve affordable and sustainable homeownership, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge has made it a central priority to help families realize the dream of homeownership.

A home is more than four walls and a roof. It is the bedrock, said Fudge, a place that serves as a bridge to greater opportunity and a better life. A home can connect people to better jobs, more affordable transportation options, and communities with cleaner air and cleaner water. It is a place that can help build wealth that can be passed down to generations to come.

The dream of homeownership – and the security and wealth creation that comes with it – is out of reach for too many Americans. This is especially true in the wake of the economic devastation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of available affordable housing inventory.

HUD is committed to supporting sustainable and affordable homeownership opportunities to help more low- and moderate-income and first-time homebuyers who want to move from renting to owning. HUD is vigorously enhancing tools and resources to make affordable FHA-insured mortgage financing more accessible to those who need it most.

On his first day in office, President Biden took executive action to extend foreclosure moratoriums for nearly 11 million households with mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Government. Following the Biden-Harris Administration’s introduction and passage of the American Rescue Plan, HUD introduced streamlined options for relief for homeowners and continues to work with the Department of Treasury to implement nearly $10 billion in relief for homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments during the pandemic. During Homeownership Month, the Federal Housing Administration introduced additional measures to help homeowners during the pandemic, including extending the foreclosure moratorium for all FHA-insured single family mortgages through July 31, extending the initial forbearance request timeframes, providing additional relief to seniors with Home Equity Conversion reverse mortgages, and providing new mortgage payment recovery options for those most in distress.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) updated its policy on student loan monthly payment calculations to remove barriers and provide more access to affordable single family FHA-insured mortgage financing for creditworthy individuals with student loan debt, which has disproportionate impact on communities of color. The updates removed the previous requirement that lenders calculate a borrower’s student loan monthly payment of one percent of the outstanding student loan balance for student loans that are not fully amortizing. The new policy bases the monthly payment on the actual student loan payment, more closely aligning FHA policies with industry standards.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced actions to end discrimination in the housing market. More than 50 years since the Fair Housing Act’s passage, access to wealth through homeownership remains persistently unequal. In his first week in office, President Biden issued a memorandum directing HUD to address discrimination in the housing market. HUD has published both its proposed rule on countering housing practices with discriminatory effects and its interim final rule on the legal duty to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing in the Federal Register. These rules will align federal enforcement practice with the Fair Housing Act’s broad remedial purpose to end discrimination in housing.

The President’s FY2022 HUD budget proposal makes clear that housing is foundational to building a strong, more secure America. The FY2022 HUD budget includes a $100 million set-aside for Secretary Fudge’s new initiative, the FirstHOME Homebuyer Assistance initiative, which provides funding to States and insular areas – unincorporated territories of the United States – to support sustainable homeownership.

The FY2022 HUD budget also includes funding to pilot new FHA programs intended to lower barriers to homeownership for potential first-time homebuyers. These FHA-insured loans may be paired with assistance from the FirstHOME initiative to increase initial equity for first-time homebuyers and further the aim of sustainable homeownership.