Rebuild Our Prosperity by Making Owner-Occupied and Rental Homes Livable and Efficient

Big cities and small towns in America can be more prosperous with the jobs that come from necessary investments in making homes well-repaired, safe, and energy efficient.

Stable, quality jobs and long-lasting skills will grow from our people performing this necessary work, as will savings in bills and in energy, leading to increased American energy independence. Now, COVID-19 has made home a central focus for work, school, and social life during the crisis. Investments that help every American participate better during any crisis that has us spending more time at home are critical, helping us to be safe as we live and age in place. We can rebuild our economy while making these important investments, building on already existing policies.

Fahe’s plan creates jobs and improves quality of life through a new policy and program expanding on central tenets of existing polices wisely enacted in the past: United States Dept. of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program, Dept. of Health and Human Services Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and Dept. of Ag Single Family Repairs (known as Section 504). At least 591,542 jobs created then sustained over 10 years through a national investment of $29.1 billion/year to repair for health, safety, and energy efficiency the owner-occupied homes of lower income people in the United States. Our estimate is based on American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that every $1M spent on construction yields 20.3 jobs.

Fahe Member experience in the field leads us to estimate $15,000 and $20,000 for the average urban and rural repair, respectively. We cap repairs at $40,000 for this program. $40,000 is necessary to address not only homes with deferred maintenance, but also to cover the additional costs of repairing pre-1978 homes with lead abatement issues.

Poverty LevelHousing Units% Urban% Urban Ownership% Urban RepairAverage RepairEstimated Investment
<100%15,197,000x .807x .598x .358x $15,000= $39.4 B
100-200%19,873,000x .807x .598x .358x $15,000= $51.5 B
200-400%31,462,400x .807x .598x .358x $15,000= $90.8 B
Poverty LevelHousing Units% Rural% Rural Ownership% Rural RepairAverage RepairEstimated Investment
<100%15,197,000x .193x .811x .5x $20,000= $23.8 B
100-200%19,873,000x .193x .811x .5x $20,000= $31.1 B
200-400%31,462,400x .193x .811x .5x $20,000= $54.8 B

Fahe supports investment to create construction jobs through needed energy efficiency and home repair upgrades addressing substandard housing. 

The total investment from this proposal going into communities is $291 billion over ten years via both loans and grants, creating nearly 6 million jobs nationwide and repairing more than 41 million homes. We understand that besides the federal investments our policy expands, there exist state, local and charitable investments in repair and weatherization. However, existing federal policy invests less than $1 billion each year, and while state, local, and charitable investments are meaningful, they are inconsistent to address sufficiently the potential for recovery and jobs as well as the quality of life improvements Fahe has identified above.

To create these jobs, investments have to solve lead-based paint challenges.

We propose $1 million to increase the supply of small businesses offering inspection services through a loan program within the U.S. Small Business Administration for counties without a lead inspection business. The program would utilize SBA’s existing 7(a) loan ability for financing, and SBA’s existing Small Business Development Centers for counseling, and create a TA program to assist businesses with receiving certifications. Fahe also proposes $400,000 to expand the supply of non-profit housing organizations certified for Lead Safe repair work through a technical assistance program at EPA.

Fahe believes in creating these jobs from necessary repair and upgrades in a way that is financially sustainable for our country and our neighbors.

The loan component of the investment ensures that recipients participate fully and contribute an affordable amount to the repairs of their homes, but also significantly lowers the total cost of this investment to the federal government through repayment and interest payments.

For rental property owners, we propose a tiered investment structure of $70 billion with forgivable loans, extended to property owners who pledge to maintain a unit affordability period for five years upon completion of the repairs to that unit. The property owner must be the applicant for the loan, and the current or most-recent tenants of the property must meet the income eligibility criteria below.

Income Limits (Federal Poverty Level)Real income dollars, family of four in 2020Financing model proposed investmentGrant/ Loan mix for example project, total cost $20,000
0-100% FPLUp to $26,20090% Grant/ 10% Loan$18,000/ $2,000
101-200% FPLUp to $52,40075% Grant/ 25% Loan$15,000/ $5,000
201-300% FPLUp to $78,60050% Grant/ 50% Loan$10,000/ $10,000
301-400% FPLUp to $104,80025% Grant/ 75% Loan$5,000/ $15,000

To learn more about the “Rebuild Our Prosperity” proposals for owner-occupied homes, and for rental homes, click on the respective links to read our full position statements:

Rebuild Our Prosperity by Making Owner-Occupied Homes Livable and Efficient

Rebuild Our Prosperity by Making Rental Homes Livable and Efficient