On June 25th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to establish a White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing Development. The council will be chaired by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and will engage with state and local leaders to identify and remove obstacles that impede the development of new affordable housing, and will streamline interagency processes to deliver results more quickly.
On June 4th, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, S. 1703, and Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) introduced an identical bill in the House, H. 3077. This legislation would make significant strides towards addressing our nation’s severe shortage of affordable housing by expanding and strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which would create hundreds of thousands of affordable apartments across the United States over the next decade.
The bills would increase the Housing Credit by 50 percent over five years, on top of the recent 12.5 percent increase, which would be preserved permanently. The bill sets a 4 percent minimum rate for both Housing Bond-financed and acquisition developments, permits states to determine a 30 percent basis boost for bond-financed developments, and allows a 50 percent basis boost for units reserved for extremely low-income households.
The bill also helps to preserve existing affordable housing by allowing the credit to better serve extremely low-income families and families in rural areas and Native American communities, and makes the program more efficient. Both the Senate and the House bills should be among the most cosponsored bills in this Congress, as the affordability crisis continues to affect Americans nationwide.
Housing Matters | Summer 2019