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White House unveils new efforts to increase affordable housing in U.S.

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White House unveils new efforts to increase affordable housing in U.S.
Officials said President Biden's agenda calls for construction and rehabilitation of more than 1 million affordable housing units and reducing the burden of rent on American families. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The White House announced on Wednesday new efforts to increase affordable housing in the United States amid a crisis that's being exacerbated by COVID-19.

President Joe Biden's administration said the new steps will create, preserve and make available nearly 100,000 additional affordable homes to buyers and renters over the next three years. The measures are focused on helping those in the lower- and middle-class.

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The measures include launching partnerships and financing through Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration and a focus on selling federally-owned properties to individuals, families and non-profits, as opposed to investors.

One of the major goals is increasing the number of quality rental units.

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"Even before the pandemic, 11 million families, or nearly a quarter of renters, paid more than half of their income on rent," the White House said in a statement. "President Biden believes this is unacceptable. Rent should be affordable for working families."

Officials said Biden's agenda calls for construction and rehabilitation of more than 1 million affordable housing units and reducing the burden of rent on American families.

The White House said it would also prefer to see state and local governments create a better climate that promotes affordable homes.

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Wednesday's announcement came amid a housing crisis in the United States driven by a lack of available and affordable homes in some markets and exacerbated by COVID-19.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down a national eviction ban that allowed renters struggling to make payments, as a result of the pandemic's economic impact, to stay in their homes.

Biden's administration is urging the legal community to help renters stave off evictions, particularly in certain areas of the country.

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The White House announcement came one day after an industry report said U.S. housing prices rose in June by the largest year-to-year increase in more than three decades.

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