President Joe Biden followed in the footsteps of previous presidents and issued a proclamation on Tuesday, designating June 2021 as “National Homeownership Month.” The new president used his proclamation to spotlight the administration’s efforts in streamlining and widening the availability of homeownership to those affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as well as historically underserved communities.
“Today, for people across the United States, the desire to own a home burns as brightly as it ever has,” the president said in his proclamation. “Yet the stark reality is that, for too many, the dream of homeownership is becoming more difficult to realize and sustain. This is especially true in the wake of the economic devastation inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It is also true for people of color, who continue to face housing discrimination that can affect their ability to secure a mortgage, have a home appraised or live in neighborhoods of their choice, the president said.
“In recent years, the homeownership gap between Black and white families reached its widest point since 1968, when banks could still legally discriminate against borrowers based on the color of their skin,” Biden explained. “This is economically and morally wrong, and it is why, as president, I have made it a central priority to expand stability and opportunity within our housing market. On my first day in office, I took executive action to extend foreclosure moratoriums for nearly 11 million households with mortgages guaranteed by the federal government.”
The passage of the American Rescue Plan Act and its accompanying $10 billion Homeowners Assistance Fund – which has application to reverse mortgage borrowers who may require assistance meeting their required obligations under the terms of their loan – is central to the mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the purview of the administration, Biden said.
“[HUD] will continue to advance affordable and sustainable homeownership throughout our Nation,” Biden said. “This will require that we help more hardworking Americans purchase their first homes, increase access to credit and mortgage insurance for borrowers of color, and fully enforce the 1968 Fair Housing Act – to root out systemic discrimination from our housing market and break down the unjust barriers that prevent too many Americans from buying a home.”
The president then made the official proclamation, before issuing a call to action.
“I call upon the people of this Nation to recognize the enduring value of homeownership and to recommit ourselves to helping more Americans realize that dream,” Biden said.
Recently, the president submitted his administration’s budget proposal to Congress, and a HUD-specific congressional justifications document helps to give insight into the administration’s perspectives on and priorities for the reverse mortgage program.
Read the proclamation at the White House.