The ACTION Campaign applauds the leadership of Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for introducing the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016. We also want to thank Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) for joining as original co-sponsors of this critical legislation. See our statement on the introduction of the Affordable Housing Credi Improvement Act.
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act will make significant strides towards addressing our nation’s severe shortage of affordable housing by expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), while making the program more streamlined and flexible. This bill would:
- Expand Housing Credit allocation authority by 50 percent, phased in by ten percent per year for the next five years. This expansion is expected to finance the development or preservation of up to 400,000 affordable homes over the next decade. Despite the growing need for affordable housing, Congress has not increased Housing Credit authority in 16 years, and viable and sorely needed Housing Credit developments are turned down each year because Housing Credit resources fall far short of the demand.
- Provide a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate for the acquisition of affordable housing and for multifamily Housing Bond-financed developments. Similar to the minimum 9 percent Housing Credit rate that was made permanent at the end of 2015, this change would streamline program administration, increase predictability, and empower states to allocate more Housing Credit equity to properties as needed for financial feasibility.
- Permit income averaging in Housing Credit properties. This provision would preserve rigorous targeting while providing more flexibility and responsiveness to local needs.
We encourage ACTION Campaign members to reach out to your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016.
“Affordable housing is a crisis all across America. With skyrocketing rents and an increase in homelessness, more affordable housing units are a necessity. That is why today, Senator Hatch and I are introducing legislation to expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. By building more affordable housing units across the United States, more people can have a shot at the American Dream,” Senator Cantwell said in a statement.
Senator Cantwell kicked off a national campaign in support of this initiative in March, coinciding with the release of an ACTION Campaign letter to Congress signed by over 1,300 businesses and organizations calling for an expansion of the Housing Credit. Senator Cantwell has held events in Tacoma, Spokane, Walla Walla and Kitsap, Washington, and was joined by Senator Schumer for an event in New York City. Senator Cantwell is also collecting stories of people who have experienced homelessness or struggled to afford housing.