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What Joe Biden's victory could mean for SoCal housing

By Phillip Molnar, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

President-elect Joe Biden has detailed plans to help low-income renters, and first-time home buyers, that could make a difference for many Californians who face some of the highest home and rent prices in the nation.

His progressive agenda was released before the election and there is no guarantee it will pass. The new president likely faces a divided Congress that could slow, or deny, approval of his housing strategy.

Biden's proposals, detailed on his campaign website, include new tenant protection, down payment assistance, community integration proposals and expansion of low-income housing credits.

Redfin economist Taylor Marr said homeowners have mainly benefited from policies and tax reforms during the Trump years. He said the new president's propositions would strike a different tone.

"It's a whole suite of policies designed to move the balance slightly more in favor of renters," Marr said.

Biden said his housing plan will cost $640 billion over 10 years and be paid for by raising taxes on corporations and large financial institutions.


In general, much of the policies included in his plan include elimination of discrimination for minorities and members of the LGBTQ community in renting and homebuying.

Some of the examples include building subsidized housing in underserved communities, ensure Black and Latino families benefit from investment in housing construction and repair, a variety of tax incentives for building in underserved communities and restoring power to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (removed by the Trump administration) to enforce settlements against lenders found to have discriminated against borrowers.

Expansion of Section 8Section 8 rent vouchers are used throughout much of California for its poorest residents. In San Diego, about 16,000 households receive Section 8 funds every year at the cost of $150 million. But, there are 80,000 households on the waiting list.

"The program is woefully underfunded," said Rick Gentry, CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, which administers the funds locally.


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