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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden has nominated housing nonprofit executive Julia Gordon to lead the Federal Housing Administration, the White House announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: The pandemic has threatened a surge in homelessness, with underserved communities hit the hardest. Biden ran on the promise to expand access to affordable housing and end "systemic housing discrimination."

  • The FHA provides mortgage insurance on loans from FHA-approved lenders.

Her background: Gordon is the president of the National Community Stabilization Trust, a nonprofit that facilitates rehabilitation of residential properties in underserved markets to provide affordable housing.

  • Gordon specializes in federal policy related to homeownership and the United State's housing finance system, per the White House.
  • She has served in a variety of housing and consumer finance policy roles, and worked in the civil legal aid sector.

Go deeper

Sep 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

What could be next in transportation

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The funding proposals in the big infrastructure legislation being hashed out in Congress have the potential to transform the way people and goods move about the country — while also reducing their carbon footprint and addressing inequities in transportation.

The big picture: More people would be driving electric cars, for example, and lower-income people would have better access to public transit to get to affordable housing, work and school.

  • High-speed trains could well become the preferred way to travel between certain metro areas, rather than flying, which is harmful to the environment.
  • Cleaner hydrogen trucks could also get a boost from more R&D funding. 

Between the lines: People who’ve been on the fence about purchasing an electric vehicle could be persuaded to buy one for two reasons:

  • Bigger tax credits — up to $12,500 per vehicle — would be more widely available, making EVs more affordable.
  • Range anxiety — the fear of being stranded with a dead battery — would be less of a worry because $13.5 billion would be spent on EV infrastructure, including more public charging stations.

The intrigue: Not everyone can afford a car — or a home — so House Democrats are proposing an innovative program that would link public transit and affordable housing.

  • A joint program between the Federal Transit Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development would provide $10 billion in grants to support struggling communities.
  • If approved, lower-income people would have better access to jobs, health care and education.
  • Their neighborhoods could be enhanced, with $4 billion proposed to remove highways that divided communities.

What we're watching: More people could be riding the train too, if Congress goes ahead with a big increase in government funding for rail, which is seen as a more efficient and sustainable mode of transportation.

  • The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $66 billion for Amtrak and other rail projects.
  • Through budget reconciliation, House Democrats want to add $10 billion more for high-speed rail that would connect to local and regional transportation networks.

Biden's reengineer-America moment

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate's bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and President Biden's $3.5 trillion spending package could live or die this week — and take Democrats' fortunes with them. But all the minute-by-minute political drama obscures how much America could change if even a fraction of it passes.

The big picture: Anything short of total failure could have a transformative impact on day-to-day life — from how we move around to our access to the internet, paid family leave and child care, health care and college.

2 hours ago - World

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.

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