June 1, 2021

The American Jobs Plan Calls for Climate-Resilient Housing

On May 26, the Biden-Harris Administration released a fact sheet detailing the Biden-Harris Administration’s American Jobs Plan’s proposed housing investments. Secretary Fudge also announced a more than $100 billion increase to the previously proposed housing investments by the Biden Administration, from $213 billion to $318 billion.

The administration recognizes that millions of Americans lack access to “affordable, safe, energy efficient, and resilient housing”. Therefore, the American Jobs Plan calls for pairing $213 billion in direct funding with more than $100 billion in new and expanded tax credits, an investment that is expected to produce, preserve and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable homes across the U.S.

Through the proposal, the administration is also investing in communities in advance of natural hazards to mitigate the impacts of climate induced disasters and the damage to the economy, properties and people. In 2020 alone, the U.S. witnessed 22 weather- and climate-related disasters that collectively caused nearly $100 billion in financial losses. As a result, one of the main priorities reflected in the American Jobs Plan is to invest in mitigation and build climate resilient communities.

Specifically, the American Jobs Plan calls for investing $50 billion to improve the resilience of our nation’s infrastructure against climate change. The Biden-Harris administration calls for targeting these investments to support infrastructure in vulnerable communities through a range of federal programs such as HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program.

Major takeaways on the climate provisions include:

  • Investing in resilience activities to protect vulnerable communities. The American Jobs Plan would allocate more than $2 billion for a new Community Development Block Grant Program at HUD to support resilience activities, targeting low- and moderate-income communities. This program would help protect the lives of thousands of families, particularly low- and moderate-income households vulnerable to climate-induced disasters. The Administration has not released details on whether these funds would be provided by formula or competition.
  • Expanding housing development and rehabilitation to tribal communities. The Administration's proposal would allocate $2 billion to meet the housing needs of tribal communities and allow for the development of climate resilient infrastructure and affordable housing. The Plan would include investments in increasing affordable housing stock, improving infrastructure and resiliency in Indian Country.
  • Improving energy efficiency and resiliency through building upgrades. The American Jobs Plan would invest $17.5 billion in the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance program and $500 million in grants and low-interest loans to renovate and enhance the energy efficiency and resiliency of multifamily housing. The Plan would also include a $10 billion consumer electrification rebate and provide more tax credits to working families as an incentive for energy efficient homes. These provisions could reduce the impacts of climate change, make homes more energy efficient and resilient in the face of climate-related disasters.

We applaud the Biden administration for its recognition of the vital role that housing plays in strengthening our country’s infrastructure as well as the Administration’s commitment to pre-disaster mitigation and climate resilience. We urge lawmakers to include the plan’s housing and climate priorities in any infrastructure legislation considered. Investing in our nation’s resilience is critical to reduce future disaster costs, protect communities, and save lives across the country.

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