Biden’s Controversial Plan To Replace Empty Offices

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – The Biden administration has been pushing for cities and states to use federal funds to convert empty office buildings into housing units. The multi-agency initiative was announced on Friday and includes the Office of Management and Budget, General Services Administration, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Transportation.

The effort is meant to simultaneously address two issues. The first is the large number of buildings that have been left vacant following the COVID-19 pandemic, and the second is the lack of available affordable housing.

National Economic Council director Lael Brainard stated that this was an opportunity to both increase the supply of houses while also “revitalizing main streets.” He added that they would use resources that were available “across the government.”

Many of the new measures would be focused on the creation of affordable housing, especially in areas close to transportation hubs, including subway stations and bus terminals.

Pete Buttigieg, the Secretary of Transportation stated that his department would also release guidance for municipalities on how to access the funds from the Innovation Act and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing and Transportation Infrastructure Finance. He added that there is “more than $35 billion in lending capacity” which will be available through below-market-rate loans. These can be used for the conversion of offices into housing and for the construction of new houses close to transportation hubs. As he pointed out, they were trying to create more housing close to transportation hubs in order to bring both housing and transportation costs down.

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