July ACTION Update: New Fact Sheet Links the Housing Credit to Positive Health Outcomes, Annual Reports Highlight Continued Housing Affordability Challenges

Support Continues to Grow for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

The House version (H.R. 1661) of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act now has 157 co-sponsors, including 84 Democrats and 73 Republicans. Recent additions include Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ-1), Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23), Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC-9), Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY-6), Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY-6), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9), and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA-3). The Senate version of the bill (S. 548) remains at 40 co-sponsors, with 28 Democrats, 10 Republicans and two Independents. We encourage all ACTION Campaign members to thank your representatives for co-sponsoring the bill, and continue to share your support for the legislation with any members who have not yet signed on.

August recess has been cancelled for the Senate, but members of the House will be in their home districts from July 27 through September 3, offering a great opportunity to show members of Congress firsthand how Housing Credit developments impact their communities and constituents. ACTION also encourages Housing Credit advocates to share how the recent 12.5 percent expansion of the Housing Credit has enabled affordable housing development that would not otherwise have been possible. For advocacy resources and tools for reaching out to members of Congress, visit the ACTION Campaign’s advocacy toolkit.

New ACTION Campaign Fact Sheet Links Affordable Housing to Improved Health Outcomes

ACTION has released a new fact sheet highlighting the role of the Housing Credit in improving health outcomes for low-income families and communities. The fact sheet explores the growing body of evidence linking affordable housing to positive health outcomes and public health care savings, as well as the potential benefits of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in creating healthy homes, including the adoption of provisions that would support the development of supportive housing for the chronically homeless. The ACTION Campaign has previously released fact sheets that document the Housing Credit’s benefits for ruralseniorveterans and Native American communities, and others that describe the benefits of using the Housing Credit for the recapitalization of existing affordable housing and the creation of supportive housing. Visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit to access these fact sheets. 

New Reports Highlight Continued Affordability Challenges in the Rental Market

The Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University has released the State of the Nation’s Housing 2018 report, finding that renter households are still widely cost-burdened and federal housing assistance to low-income households continues to fall short of demand. According to JCHS, 20.8 million renter households were cost-burdened in 2016, paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and nearly 11 million renter households were severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) Out of Reach 2018 report also finds that renters need to earn an hourly wage of $22.10 – nearly $15.00 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour – in order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. In no jurisdiction can a worker earning the federal minimum wage or prevailing state minimum wage afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent by working a standard 40-hour week. In fact, the report finds that a renter earning the federal minimum wage would need to work 99 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental home at the national average Fair Market Rent and 122 hours per week – that is, three full-time jobs – to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

As communities across the country continue to struggle against a shortage of affordable housing and rising costs, a new white paper from Enterprise Community Partners draws on the successes of some of the country’s most expensive cities to offer options for communities working to address the scarcity of affordable homes and the rising cost of development. The paper focuses on four key strategies: leveraging existing assets, creating public funding opportunities, utilizing land use controls and improving the approval process.

June ACTION Update: Rep. Curbelo Circulates Dear Colleague Letter, New Reports Show Housing Credit Success

Rep. Curbelo Circulates Dear Colleague Letter Urging Support for the Housing Credit

Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) is circulating a Dear Colleague letter asking his House colleagues to co-sponsor the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661). Rep. Curbelo was an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1661 and assumed the role of lead sponsor when former Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH) left Congress in January. In the letter, Curbelo states that the legislation “will make the Housing Credit more flexible, simplify program requirements, support the preservation of existing affordable housing, facilitate Housing Credit development in challenging markets and for hard-to-reach populations, and institute other modifications to make the Credit an even more effective program.”

ACTION encourages all Housing Credit stakeholders to share this Dear Colleague letter with your representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for resources to contact your member of Congress and advocate for the Housing Credit.

With the recent addition of Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6) and Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-6), H.R 1661 currently has 149 total co-sponsors, including 79 Democrats and 70 Republicans. Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) has also co-sponsored S. 548, companion legislation in the Senate, resulting in 40 total co-sponsors, including 28 Democrats, ten Republicans, and two Independents. ACTION continues to thank Congress for enacting two provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, as well as advocate for the enactment of the remaining provisions in the bill.

Affordable Housing Crisis Necessitates Additional Investments in the Housing Credit

A recent article in The New York Times Upshot highlights the rising demand for affordable housing and the scarcity of available resources across the country. Last fall, 6,580 households applied for 95 affordable units in the Natalie Gubb Commons development in San Francisco. This translates to 70 applicants per unit, an overwhelming display of need for affordable rental housing. The Housing Credit is our nation’s most critical tool for the production of new and preservation of existing affordable housing, but the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has reduced Credit pricing, resulting in less overall production. Enacting the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, including the 50 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation authority, would make up for the lost production resulting from tax reform and further strengthen this already successful program.

New Study Finds that Residents Benefit from Living in Housing Credit Properties

A new analysis by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley looks at how residents benefit from living in Housing Credit properties, particularly with regard to housing stability, economic mobility, and access to education. The analysis, which is based on interviews and surveys with over 250 residents in 18 properties across California, shows that one in five of those surveyed reported that they had experienced homelessness before moving into their current Housing Credit unit, and 20 percent stated that they had been forced to move involuntarily – either as the result of an eviction or rent increase. In contrast, living in a Housing Credit building was found to provide much needed housing stability, allowing residents to improve their work prospects and invest in their own and their children’s education. The study provides an important snapshot of the experiences of Housing Credit tenants in California, and demonstrates the positive impact of this important tool in the affordable housing landscape.

CohnReznick Report Shows Historic Housing Credit Performance

CohnReznick released its annual report on Housing Credit properties, which tracks the performance, historical analysis, and trends of more than 20,000 properties and 1.7 million apartments across the country. The report was also accompanied by a new online interactive tool, which provides access to performance data on Housing Credit properties down to the county level. The analysis shows that Housing Credit properties are operating better than in any period during the program’s history, supported by high physical occupancy rates (97.9%, the highest since CohnReznik began collecting data), strong economic occupancy, improved debt coverage ratio, and dramatically increased per-unit cash flow. The report also reveals that the Housing Credit industry has made significant strides in improving the quality of underwriting and asset management in properties, upholding the favorable operating performance metrics. However, given the rising demand for affordable housing, which contributes to the historically high occupancy rates, it remains critical to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit to meet the growing need. 

Democrats Send Letter to Bank Regulators on CRA Reform

16 Democratic senators sent a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) urging the banking regulators to amend the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in a way that increases opportunities for minorities. Led by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the letter underscores the positive contributions of the CRA to low- and moderate-income communities, while noting that changes to the implementation of the CRA are overdue. The letter endorses a number of recommendations for CRA improvement that the Treasury Department released in April, while also expressing concern over other suggestions. ACTION continues to monitor any proposed changes to the CRA because of its potential impact on the Housing Credit investor market.

Rep. Curbelo Circulates Dear Colleague Letter Urging Cosponsorship of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) is circulating a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter asking his House colleagues to cosponsor the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661), the ACTION Campaign-endorsed bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). Curbelo was an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1661 and assumed the role of lead sponsor when former Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH) left Congress in January.

In the letter, Representative Curbelo argues that the legislation “will make the Housing Credit more flexible, simplify program requirements, support the preservation of existing affordable housing, facilitate Housing Credit development in challenging markets and for hoard-to-reach populations, and institute other modifications to make the Credit an even more effective program.”

Congress enacted a provision from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that would establish income averaging as a new minimum set-aside option for Housing Credit developments in the March omnibus spending bill. Income averaging will provide additional flexibility to the program, allow for greater income-mixing, and make the program more effective in both urban and rural areas.

Representative Curbelo now urges Congress to advance the remaining provisions of H.R. 1661 to strengthen the Housing Credit and ensure that the program will be best able to meet today’s affordable housing challenges.

ACTION urges all Housing Credit stakeholders to share this Dear Colleague letter with your representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for resources to contact your member of Congress and advocate for the Housing Credit.

Over One-third of the House Signs on to Support Strengthening the Housing Credit

Provisions to Strengthen and Expand the Housing Credit Estimated to Increase Affordable Housing, Jobs Nationwide

The ACTION Campaign continues to thank Congress for making a significant down payment on Housing Credit resources by temporarily expanding the Credit and enacting the new permanent option for income averaging in March's omnibus spending package. According to analysis from Novogradac & Company, the temporary 12.5 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation authority, effective for four years (2018-2021), is estimated to produce an additional 28,400 affordable rental homes over the next ten years, as well as 32,000 jobs, roughly $2.7 billion more in business income and more than $1 billion in additional federal, state and local tax revenue. Novogradac & Company also provides an estimate of the number of affordable rental homes and jobs that each state would gain as a result of this temporary expansion. Additionally, the new option for income averaging provides greater flexibility and potential for income-mixing in Housing Credit developments, making it possible to provide a deeper level of affordability than was previously available. 

See our overview of Housing Credit Victories in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 for more information.

However, while these provisions are a major step forward, the increase does not fully make up for the estimated 235,000 affordable rental homes that will not be produced over the next ten years resulting from reduced Credit pricing due to the lower corporate income tax rate enacted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

ACTION is committed to advancing the remaining provisions of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to meet the vast and growing need for affordable housing nationwide. Visit the ACTION Campaign's Advocacy Toolkit for advocacy resources to support the Housing Credit and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Over One-third of the House Supports Strengthening the Housing Credit

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act has continued to gain support following the provisions to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit that were enacted in March. Over one-third of the House has now signed on to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661) to strengthen the Housing Credit, a tremendous display of support that is a testament to strong congressional champions and the grassroots advocacy network through the ACTION Campaign. New co-sponsors include Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL-4), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-6), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA-2), Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL-5), bringing total co-sponsorship in the House to 147 members, with 78 Democrats and 69 Republicans. The Senate bill (S. 548) has 39 co-sponsors, with 27 Democrats, ten Republicans and two Independents. 

Invite Your Representatives to Tour Local Housing Credit Properties

ACTION encourages all Housing Credit stakeholders to invite elected officials to tour Housing Credit properties and attend grand openings when members of Congress are home in the state or district this summer. Site visits are a powerful tool to show the impact of the Housing Credit on residents and the community. Sample language for contacting member offices about a site visit can be found in our Advocacy Toolkit, along with other resources for promoting the Housing Credit.

All States to See Increases in Housing Credit Ceiling and Bond Cap in 2018

The IRS recently reported that the U.S. population grew by 0.8 percent last year, meaning that all states will see an increase in 2018 Housing Credit ceiling and tax-exempt private activity bond (PAB) cap. In addition to the population increase, the 12.5 percent expansion of 9 percent Housing Credits included in the omnibus will provide states with even greater tax credit allocations in 2018. According to Novogradac & Company, the increase in the per-capita amount to $2.70 and the small state minimum to $3.105 million means that even states that lost population but do not qualify for the small state minimum will still see an increase in their Housing Credit and PAB cap this year. 

Treasury Recommends Modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act

Last month the Treasury Department released a memorandum with findings and recommendations to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). CRA was enacted in 1977 with the goal of encouraging banks and other depository institutions to meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Banks can receive positive CRA credit for investing in the Housing Credit. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – collectively, the banking regulators – are responsible for carrying out any regulatory reforms and will be reviewing Treasury’s recommendations. OCC is also expected to release an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on CRA in the coming weeks. ACTION will be closely monitoring any proposed changes to the CRA because of its potential impact on the Housing Credit investor market. Stay tuned to our blog for additional information.

ACTION Campaign Thanks Congress for Expanding and Strengthening the Housing Credit

Congress Expands, Strengthens the Housing Credit in FY 2018 Omnibus

President Trump signed the fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus spending package into law on March 23, enacting two key provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act:

  • A 12.5 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation authority for four years (2018-2021). While this is not as significant an increase as the 50 percent phased-in permanent cap increase proposed in S. 548, it provides a substantial level of new resources and will allow for the construction or rehabilitation of an additional 28,400 affordable rental homes over the next decade, according to Novogradac & Co. estimates. This is the first expansion of the Housing Credit in ten years. 
  • Income averaging, on a permanent basis moving forward. Income averaging would allow Housing Credit units to serve households earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI), offset by deeper targeting in other units to maintain average affordability in the development at 60 percent AMI. The 60 percent AMI ceiling would apply to the average income limit for all apartments in a development rather than each individual Housing Credit apartment. 

The ACTION Campaign released a statement thanking Congress for including these provisions in the omnibus.

We encourage all ACTION Campaign members to reach out to your members of Congress who co-sponsored the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548 or H.R. 1661) and thank them for their support of the Housing Credit. For sample thank you language and other advocacy resources, visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit.

While the temporary 12.5 percent increase will not fully make up for the projected loss of Housing Credit production as a result of tax reform – an estimated 235,000 homes over ten years – it is a very significant first step and offers an important down payment on the nationwide shortage of affordable rental housing. ACTION remains committed to working with our congressional partners to advance the remaining provisions in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, including the minimum four percent Housing Credit rate.

Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Co-Sponsorship Update

Several new members have joined as co-sponsors of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act on both the House (H.R. 1661) and Senate (S. 548) versions of the bill. In the House, Rep. James Langevin (D-RI-2), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA-7), Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC-8), Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT-2), Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-6), Rep. James McGovern (D-MA-2), and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) have co-sponsored the Curbelo-Neal bill, bringing total co-sponsorship to 143 members of Congress, including 74 Democrats and 69 Republicans.

15 Democratic members and one Independent have also been formally reflected as co-sponsors on the Cantwell-Hatch version of the bill. These co-sponsors include Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Sen. Angus King Jr. (I-ME), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sen. Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). This brings total co-sponsorship on the Cantwell-Hatch bill to 38 members of Congress, including 26 Democrats, ten Republicans and two Independents.

We urge all ACTION members to thank these members of Congress for co-sponsoring the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Recent HUD and Freddie Mac Studies Examine Housing Credit Properties

HUD has released a new report highlighting the importance and impact of the Housing Credit. The report, Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2015, documents that 44.5 percent of Housing Credit properties’ tenants were extremely low-income in 2015 – serving those earning 30 percent of area median income or less. The report also shows that the vacancy rate of Housing Credit properties dropped from 5 percent vacant to 4 percent vacant between 2013 and 2015, indicating high demand for these homes.

A recent analysis by Freddie Mac also found that households who live in Housing Credit properties benefit from more stable and predictable rent increases. The study indicates that the average rent for Housing Credit properties is 38 percent lower than average market-rate rents. Across the nine markets analyzed in the study between 2012 and 2017, market-rate rents in the nine markets grew 5 percent on average per year while Housing Credit properties’ rents rose an average of 0.9 percent annually. The study points out that the substantial market-rate rent increases are causing serious financial hardship, particularly for lower-income households that qualified for but were unable to move into Housing Credit units because too few were available.

House and Senate Pass Omnibus with Provisions to Strengthen and Expand the Housing Credit

Yesterday the House and the Senate voted to approve a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill and the president signed it into law today.

The omnibus includes two key provisions to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit, taken from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661):

  • A 12.5 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation, effective for four years (2018-2021), and
  • A provision authorizing income averaging in Housing Credit properties, on a permanent basis upon enactment of this bill. Income averaging would allow Housing Credit units to serve households earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI), offset by deeper targeting in other units to maintain average affordability in the development at 60 percent AMI. The 60 percent AMI ceiling would apply to the average income limit for all apartments in a development rather than each individual Housing Credit apartment. 

This is the first expansion of the Housing Credit in ten years. The cap increase of 12.5 percent for four years beginning in 2018 will allow for the construction or rehabilitation of nearly 29,000 additional rental homes for low-income families, seniors, veterans, and persons with disability than would have otherwise been possible. This increase will not fully make up for the project loss of Housing Credit production as a result of tax reform – an estimated 235,000 homes over ten years – but it is a very significant first step.

See the ACTION Campaign statement on the enactment of these provisions in the omnibus.

Since the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act was introduced in 2016, more than 180 members of Congress have supported the bill, a remarkable display of bipartisan support that was made possible by the ACTION Campaign members who mobilized with passion and urgency to advocate over the last few weeks, months, and years.

But this effort would not have advanced without the enduring leadership of our champions in Congress. ACTION is especially thankful for the unparalleled leadership from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act’s lead sponsors, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and House Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), without whom this major victory would never have occurred. We also thank congressional leadership for their support, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). We are also deeply grateful to the cosponsors of S. 548 and H.R. 1661, many of whom were actively engaged with leadership in support of the Housing Credit provisions in the omnibus. In addition, ACTION thanks former Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH) for his efforts that helped bring us to this point. 

ACTION looks forward to continued advocacy with these members of Congress as we seek to advance the remaining provisions from the Cantwell-Hatch bill, including the minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate.

Omnibus Bill to Expand, Strengthen Housing Credit

Today Congress agreed to an omnibus spending bill, which includes two key provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661):

  • A 12.5 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation for four years (2018-2021), and
  • Income averaging, on a permanent basis after enactment of this billwhich would allow the 60 percent AMI ceiling to apply to the average of all apartments in a project rather than each individual Housing Credit apartment. 

The House and Senate must now vote to pass this omnibus bill before government funding runs out on Friday, March 23.

The inclusion of these provisions is a testament of the tireless advocacy efforts of ACTION Campaign members over many years, and the strong bipartisan support we have built for the Housing Credit and this legislation. Since the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act was first introduced in 2016, nearly one-third of Congress has signed on. Thank you to everyone who contributed to these efforts.

These provisions come at a critical time, with more than 11 million households paying more than half of their income in rent. In addition, as a result of the lower corporate tax rate recently enacted through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we had been expecting Housing Credit equity to decline by roughly 14 percent. The increase in resources and new flexibilities authorized in the omnibus will go a long way towards sustaining and even increasing Housing Credit production.

We would like to thank Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), former Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and House Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) for their leadership, as well as the more than 160 members of Congress who have shown support for this legislation.

While there are many other important provisions in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that we will continue to seek to advance, the enactment of these key provisions is a critical step. 

Urgent Action Needed to Expand and Strengthen Housing Credit in Omnibus

Congress is currently negotiating an omnibus spending bill, which is likely to include a tax component, and needs to pass on or before March 23 when the current continuing resolution expires. This bill may be the last potential vehicle for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act for quite some time, and opportunities will be few and far between as we get closer to the midterm elections later this year. There will be a lot of competing interests vying to be part of what could be the last major piece of legislation for a while, so outreach over the coming days is critical to make sure our Housing Credit legislation rises to the top of the priorities list. 

Advocacy Message

  • Ask all Republican co-sponsors of S. 548 to reach out to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and urge him to enact S. 548 in the tax package that could move with the omnibus.
  • Ask all Democratic co-sponsors of S. 548 to reach out to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to make sure our bill is a Democratic priority in their negotiations with Senate Republicans. We also encourage you to reach out to the following Democrats, who are in the queue waiting to be added to S. 548, and urge them to share their support with Sen. Schumer:
    • Sen. Cortez Masto (D-NV)
    • Sen. Reed (D-RI)
    • Sen. Carper (D-DE)
    • Sen. Nelson (D-FL)
    • Sen. Casey (D-PA)
    • Sen. Duckworth (D-IL)
    • Sen. Hirono (D-HI)
    • Sen. King (I-ME)
    • Sen. Coons (D-DE)
    • Sen. Feinstein (D-CA)
    • Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI)
    • Sen. Cardin (D-MD)
    • Sen. Stabenow (D-MI)
    • Sen. Heitkamp (D-ND)
    • Sen. Markey (D-MA)
    • Sen. Menendez (D-NJ)
    • Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY)
    • Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Ask all Republican co-sponsors of H.R. 1661 to reach out to House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and tell them they support enactment of H.R. 1661 as part of the omnibus.
  • Ask all Democratic co-sponsors of H.R. 1661 to reach out to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to make sure H.R. 1661 is a Democratic priority in negotiations with Republicans about tax provisions in the omnibus.

There are eight new co-sponsors on the House version of the bill, bringing total co-sponsorship on H.R. 1661 to 135 representatives, including 68 Democrats and 67 Republicans. New co-sponsors include Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV-1), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX-29), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO-6) , Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23), Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA-2), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY-3), and Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO-6). We encourage you to thank these members for their support and urge them to weigh in with House leadership immediately. 

You may wish to use the following talking points:

  • Thank you for your support of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. As you know, this legislation includes common-sense reforms to make the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds more streamlined and flexible. The Senate version of the legislation also includes a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit resources, which we are calling on both the House and Senate to adopt. This increase in resources would finance approximately 400,000 more affordable homes over the next decade than would otherwise be possible.
  • [For Republican offices only]: The affordable housing community applauds Congress for retaining the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and tax-exempt multifamily Housing Bonds in tax reform. Together, these two programs finance virtually all affordable housing built and preserved in the United States. However, our work is not done.
  • There is a growing need for affordable housing that vastly exceeds the supply we are able to produce with limited resources currently available to us. There are more than 11 million households who pay more than half of their income on rent, and this number is expected to increase unless we act now. (See our state fact sheets for data on the affordable housing shortage in each state.)
  • We understand that the omnibus spending bill currently being negotiated is likely to have a tax component, and may be the last potential vehicle for advancing the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act for quite some time.
  • We ask that you reach out to [member of leadership – see above] urging them to include the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in the omnibus.

Housing Credit Advocacy Critical While Congress Negotiates Omnibus Package

We are continuing to advocate to include the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in the next tax legislation that Congress advances. Earlier this month, there was bipartisan support for including provisions of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in the deal that was struck on tax extenders, the continuing resolution and the budget caps. While it was not ultimately included in the final legislation, it showed major progress and momentum for the Housing Credit. The bill’s sponsors in the Senate, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), are highly motivated to advance the bill (S. 548) this year and are looking for every possible opportunity to include it in any upcoming tax legislation. ACTION is doing everything we can to support their efforts. We also are working closely with Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26), the new lead Republican on the House version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661), as well as Ranking Member Richard Neal’s (D-MA-1) office, to continue to build support in the House.

Our most immediate focus is the omnibus Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending legislation currently being negotiated, which must pass by March 23. The omnibus is likely to include a tax component, which could serve as a vehicle to advance the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. Advocacy is critical over the coming weeks as negotiations are ongoing, not only to grow support for this legislation, but to ensure that congressional leadership is hearing from members that they want to see the bill enacted now. We encourage all ACTION members to:

1)   Reach out to current supporters of S. 548 and H.R. 1661 asking them to urge leadership to include the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in the upcoming omnibus package, and

2)   Continue to build co-sponsorship, encouraging any members of Congress who have not already signed onto S. 548 or H.R. 1661 – especially Republicans – to do so.

Visit the ACTION Campaign Advocacy Toolkit for resources to help make the case for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Co-Sponsor Update

The Senate version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) has 23 co-sponsors – 12 Democrats, 10 Republicans and one Independent. There are also 18 Democrats who intend to co-sponsor the bill but are not yet formally listed, as Senator Cantwell seeks to maintain party balance.

Three new co-sponsors have joined the House version of the bill, H.R. 1661 – Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL-18), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL-15), and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA-2). This brings the total co-sponsorship on the House bill to 127 representatives – 63 Democrats and 64 Republicans.

Trump Administration Releases Infrastructure Proposal

The Trump Administration released its FY 2019 budget proposal earlier this month, as well as a proposal for infrastructure legislation. The 55-page infrastructure plan does not include any proposals to invest in affordable housing, underscoring a need to continue to make the case that housing is a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure. The infrastructure proposal does call for lifting the volume cap on private activity bonds for certain activities, however it does not appear that housing is one of these expanded uses. 

Continued Advocacy Needed to Strengthen and Expand the Housing Credit in Anticipated Tax Legislation

ACTION is working to ensure that the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661) is well positioned to be added to any potential tax legislative vehicle that Congress could consider this year.  It is possible that a tax package could move in concert with an omnibus spending package or separately with either disaster assistance legislation or attached to a bill renewing expiring tax provisions. Legislation may come together quickly, and it is incumbent on our continued advocacy to ensure that leadership is hearing from members of Congress that the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act should be included.

In light of the additional shortage of units that will result from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it is more critical than ever to enact the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would expand Housing Credit resources by 50 percent – making up for the expected loss in production while also making a meaningful dent in addressing the nation’s affordable housing crisis. We encourage all ACTION members to reach out to your members of Congress, especially Republicans, asking that they urge leadership to include the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in any upcoming tax legislation. Use our Advocacy Toolkit to continue making the case for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Rep. Curbelo Takes Over as Lead House Sponsor on Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12), former lead sponsor of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661) and House Ways and Means Committee member, officially departed the House on January 15 to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable. Taking his place as lead sponsor on the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661) is Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26), an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1661 and a member of the Ways and Means Committee. ACTION thanks Rep. Tiberi for being a long-time champion of the Housing Credit, and we look forward to working with Rep. Curbelo to advance the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Two new co-sponsors have joined H.R. 1661 since tax reform was passed – Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL-6) and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) – bringing the total co-sponsorship on the House bill to 124 representatives – 62 Democrats and 62 Republicans. The Senate version of the bill, S. 548, has 23 co-sponsors – 12 Democrats, 10 Republicans and one Independent.

We are continuing to urge more co-sponsorship on the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, especially among Republicans, and are encouraging all existing supporters to reach out to leadership asking that they prioritize advancing the bill this year.

New Committee Assignments Announced

New committee assignments were have been announced for 2018, which include two changes to the tax committees – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was appointed to the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL-18) was appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee.

National Media Highlight Impact of Tax Reform on Housing Credit

A recent NPR article noted that the tax bill’s reduction in the top corporate tax rate will increase the national shortage of affordable housing because the Housing Credit will provide fewer benefits to investors. A New York Times article also noted the negative impacts on affordable housing production resulting from the tax bill, specifically citing Novogradac and Company’s analysis that the tax bill will reduce our expected supply of affordable housing by 235,000 units over the next decade. 

Advocacy Needed to Expand and Strengthen Housing Credit

Advocacy Needed to Expand and Strengthen Housing Credit in Likely Tax Component of Omnibus Spending Package

House and Senate leaders from both parties are currently trying to negotiate a budget agreement setting new top line discretionary spending limits, thus allowing appropriators to work on an omnibus spending bill. The omnibus spending is likely to be paired with other legislative priorities, including a tax package. ACTION is working with our lead sponsors to make the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, including the 50 percent cap increase in the Cantwell-Hatch version of the legislation, part of the tax package that would move with the omnibus spending bill. We need ACTION grassroots advocates to make the case to members of Congress and to leadership for its inclusion in the tax package of the omnibus bill. This is all likely to happen fast, as the current continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government runs out on January 19, so Congress must either finish the omnibus spending bill by then or pass what would be a fourth 2018 CR.  

All ACTION members should reach out to co-sponsors of H.R. 1661 and co-sponsors of S. 548 urging them to convey their support for affordable housing to House and Senate leadership by asking that they include the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in any omnibus and tax package.

We encourage you to use the following talking points:

  • The affordable housing community applauds Congress for retaining the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and tax-exempt multifamily Housing Bonds in tax reform. Together, these two programs finance virtually all affordable housing built and preserved in the United States.
  • However, our work is not done. There is a growing need for affordable housing that vastly exceeds the supply we are able to produce with limited resources currently available to us. There are currently more than 11 million households who pay more than half of their income on rent, and this number is expected to increase unless we act now. (See our state fact sheets for data on the affordable housing shortage in each state.)
  • For this reason, more than 2,000 businesses and organizations are calling on Congress to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds through the bipartisan and broadly-supported Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661 and S. 548).
  • This legislation includes common-sense reforms to make the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds more streamlined and flexible. The Senate version of the legislation also includes a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit resources, which we are calling on both the House and Senate to adopt. This increase in resources would finance approximately 400,000 more affordable homes over the next decade than would otherwise be possible.
  • We appreciate your support of affordable housing and ask that you encourage leadership to include the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in any omnibus and tax package.

See our Advocacy Toolkit for more resources on the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Housing Credit Champions Readying to Leave Congress

Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH), longtime Republican champion of the Housing Credit program in the House, is stepping down from Congress next week in order to become the president of the Ohio Business Roundtable. ACTION has been working with Tiberi’s office to identify a successor who will pick up the charge of advancing the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, H.R. 1661, which Tiberi sponsored. 

Housing Credit Republican Senate champion, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), also announced his intent to retire from Congress at the end of his term next year. We will work to add the enactment of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to Senator Hatch's legacy. 

ICYMI: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Retains Critical Housing Programs

Last month, the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. The final version of the bill:

  • Retains the Housing Credit, with no modifications. Changes to the Housing Credit included in the Senate-passed version of the bill that would have changed the Housing Credit’s general public use requirement and basis boost rules were removed from the final bill.
  • Retains private activity bonds (PABs), including multifamily Housing Bonds, which provide critical financing to more than half of all Housing Credit developments and trigger the “4 percent” Housing Credit. The bill made no modifications to PABs that would have undercut Housing Bonds, such as modifications to PAB carryforward rules.
  • Lowers the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, effective January 1, 2018, which we expect to reduce Housing Credit pricing.
  • Creates a base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT), which would make Housing Credit investment less attractive to certain investors with foreign operations. However, the final bill attempts to mitigate the impact of the BEAT on Housing Credit investment by exempting 80 percent of the value of the Housing Credit from the BEAT. ACTION is working to analyze the extent to which the BEAT will still impact Housing Credit investors.

See the ACTION Campaign’s statement thanking Congress and the conferees for preserving the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds in tax reform.

Congress Passes Final Tax Reform Bill

Congress Passes Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; Retains Critical Housing Programs

The House and Senate both passed the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1, this week and sent the bill to the President’s desk for a signature. The final version of the bill:

  • Retains the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), with no modifications. Changes to the Housing Credit included in the Senate-passed version of the bill that would have changed the Housing Credit’s general public use requirement and basis boost rules were removed from the final bill.
  • Retains private activity bonds (PABs), including multifamily Housing Bonds, which provide critical financing to more than half of all Housing Credit developments and trigger the “4 percent” Housing Credit. The bill made no modifications to PABs that would have undercut Housing Bonds, such as modifications to PAB carryforward rules.
  • Lowers the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, effective January 1, 2018, which we expect to reduce Housing Credit pricing.
  • Creates a base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT), which would make Housing Credit investment less attractive to certain investors with foreign operations. However, the final bill attempts to mitigate the impact of the BEAT on Housing Credit investment by exempting 80 percent of the value of the Housing Credit from the BEAT. ACTION is working to analyze the extent to which the BEAT will still impact Housing Credit investors.

See the ACTION Campaign’s statement thanking Congress and the conferees for preserving the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds in tax reform.

The inclusion of these critical affordable housing financing tools in the final tax reform bill is a testament not just to the programs’ strong track record, but also to the exceptional advocacy of stakeholders across the country. Thank you to all ACTION members who mobilized over the past several weeks to preserve multifamily Housing Bonds in the final tax reform bill and sustain affordable housing production.

Advocacy in 2018

The new tax system also presents concerns that we will work to address in the coming months. A recent analysis by Novogradac & Co. estimates that the final version of the tax reform bill would reduce affordable rental housing production by nearly 235,000 homes over the next decade due to the lower corporate tax rate and a change to the Credit’s inflation calculation. The vast majority of the impact comes from the loss of investor equity resulting from the reduced corporate rate. The BEAT could have a further negative impact on the Housing Credit equity market, which we are now working to analyze. 

GOP leadership has indicated they will consider a follow-up tax bill in 2018, and ACTION will continue advocating for modifications to keep the Housing Credit whole in technical corrections or other follow-on tax legislation. This includes advocating for modifications to the Housing Credit formula to sustain the Credit’s production potential even under the reduced corporate tax rate, as well as modifications to offset the potentially negative impacts of BEAT.

The tremendous support for the Housing Credit we witnessed during this recent tax reform debate will be critical as we continue urging Congress to address these concerns and sustain the Housing Credit’s production potential in a new tax system. This includes continued advocacy for modifications to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit, including the common-sense proposals in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, S. 548 and H.R. 1661.

We look forward to working with Congress to address these concerns, advance the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and strengthen our affordable housing delivery system in 2018 and beyond.

New Version of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Retains Housing Credit, Housing Bonds

Today the House and Senate GOP leadership filed a conference report on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, reconciling the differences between the House-passed and Senate-passed versions of the bill. Both chambers are expected to vote on the bill early next week.

The new version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would:

  • Retain the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), with no modifications. The amendment that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) added to the Senate bill was removed from the final bill. This amendment would have replaced the existing Housing Credit general public use requirement exception for artist housing with one for veterans; made properties in rural areas eligible to receive a basis boost; and reduced the maximum basis boost for all types of boost-eligible developments from 130 to 125 percent.
  • Fully retain private activity bonds (PABs), including multifamily Housing Bonds, which provide critical financing to more than half of all Housing Credit developments and trigger the “4 percent” Housing Credit. The bill made no modifications to PABs that would have undercut Housing Bonds.
  • Lower the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, effective January 1, 2018.
  • Create a base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT), which would affect investors’ ability to use the Housing Credit and other credits to offset certain taxes related to foreign earnings and earnings going to foreign parent companies. However, the conference report mitigates the impact of the BEAT on the Housing Credit by exempting 80 percent of the value of the Housing Credit from the BEAT. 

The ACTION Campaign thanks the conferees for retaining both the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Together, these programs provide the financing for nearly all affordable housing built and preserved in the U.S.

We also thank all ACTION members who successfully mobilized to urge Congress to reject the House proposal that would have eliminated all PABs, including multifamily Housing Bonds. This provision would have decimated affordable housing production by essentially eliminating the “4 percent” Housing Credit and causing us to lose out on building or preserving more than 800,000 affordable homes over the next decade. The fact that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act retains both the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds is a testament to the success and critical nature of these programs, as well as our continued advocacy.

House and Senate Announce Agreement on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

House and Senate Republican leadership have reportedly struck a general agreement on tax reform legislation, reconciling the House- and Senate-passed versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1. We expect them to file this final legislation, commonly known as the conference report, before the end of the week. While there have been press reports on various aspects of the agreement, including those about private activity bonds (PABs), we do not expect to know the official details or see bill language until tomorrow. The conference committee held an open meeting yesterday, which was largely ceremonial because the agreement itself was not released ahead of the meeting, and Democratic conferees expressed concern that they did not yet know the details of the deal. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill early next week, with the House following shortly thereafter.

Media and congressional sources have reported that both the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and PABs will be retained in the new version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We do not yet know, however, whether there will be any restrictions on the use of PABs that may impact affordable housing. This week ACTION sent a letter to Congress urging them to fully retain the tax exemption on multifamily Housing Bonds, and to reject any modifications to the PAB program that in any way would restrict or reduce the use of Housing Bonds.

We are still awaiting clarity around several other issues affecting affordable housing:

  • Changes to the Housing Credit: The Senate-passed tax reform bill included several modifications to the Housing Credit, originating from an amendment authored by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS):
    • Replacing the existing Housing Credit general public use requirement exception for artist housing with one for veterans. Though we expect this provision to remain in the bill, changes may be made to ensure existing artists' housing is not at risk for tax credit recapture.
    • Making properties in rural areas eligible to receive a basis boost. This provision is likely to remain in the final bill.
    • Reducing the maximum basis boost for all types of boost-eligible developments from 130 to 125 percent. Senator Roberts has requested this provision be removed from the final bill, however we do not yet know if it has been. 
  • The corporate tax rate: The latest reports indicate that the top corporate rate will be set at 21 percent, and would go into effect on January 1, 2018. We do not expect Congress to provide any adjustment to offset the negative impact the lower corporate tax rate would have on Housing Credit production in this bill. 
  • The base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT): The Senate-passed tax bill’s BEAT provision would reduce, or potentially eliminate, the value of Housing Credit investment to certain investors.  We do not know whether the final agreement will make changes to prevent the loss of Housing Credit investment that might occur if the Senate language is adopted in the final bill. 

We will provide another update once the new version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act becomes available.

Senate Announces Conferees, Outreach Needed NOW to Save Housing Bonds

Yesterday the Senate approved its motion to go to conference with the House to negotiate tax reform legislation and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the Senate's Republican conferees.

Senate Finance Conferees:

  • Conference Chair: Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) *Republican sponsor of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548)
  • Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) 
  • Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) *co-sponsor of S. 548
  • Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) *co-sponsor of S. 548
  • Senator John Thune (R-SD)
  • Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) 

Conferees on other committees:

  • Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY)
  • Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) *co-sponsor of S. 548

Conferees that are not Finance Committee members will deal primarily with issues under the jurisdiction of their own committees that do not impact the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds. 

The Senate will also appoint Democratic conferees, whose influence will be limited.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi earlier this week separately announced the Republican and Democratic members of the conference committee in that chamber.  

House Ways and Means Conferees:

  • Conference Chair: Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8)
  • Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA-22)
  • Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL-6)
  • Representative Diane Black (R-TN-6)
  • Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD-at large) *co-sponsor of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661)
  • Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1)
  • Representative Sander Levin (D-MI-9)
  • Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35)

House Conferees on other committees:

  • Natural Resources Committee Chariman Rob Bishop (R-UT-1)
  • Representative Don Young (R-AK-at large) *co-sponsor of H.R. 1661
  • Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI-6), (replaced Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR-2) who Ryan had earlier appointed to the conference committee)
  • Representative John Shimkus (R-IL-15) *co-sponsor of H.R. 1661

As with the Senate conferees, the House conferees on committees other than Ways and Means are on the conference committee in order to focus on issues under the jurisdiction of their own committee, and not tax issues. 

The House and Senate conferees will now begin the formal work of reconciling differences between the House and Senate tax reform bills, though informal negotiations have been ongoing between leadership for several weeks. 

While all of the tax committee members on the conference committee will play important roles in determining the outcome of the tax provisions in the bill, we expect that final decisions will be made by leadership -- McConnell, Ryan, Hatch, and Brady -- and influencing those members remains our primary focus.

Retaining Housing Bonds is our top priority in conference. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has suggested that a compromise on retaining private activity bonds could include limiting their uses to infrastructure, specifically airports and surface transportation.

In your outreach to all Republican members, emphasize that we must specifically retain multifamily Housing Bonds.

This week is absolutely critical for advocacy, and all ACTION members should be reaching out to Republican members to make the case for preserving multifamily Housing Bonds in conference. Please reach out to all Republican members, including those that are not conferees, asking them to weigh in with leadership and the conferees.  

In the early hours of the morning this past Saturday, the Senate passed its tax reform bill, which retains the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds. The House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would retain the Housing Credit, but repeal private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds. If Housing Bonds are repealed, roughly 800,000 affordable homes would not be built or preserved over the next decade, according to analysis from Novogradac & Company. See our overview of the provisions in the House and Senate tax reform bills impacting affordable housing. 

Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for updated sample letters to members of Congress, talking points on Housing Bonds and more.

House Appoints Conference Committee, Outreach Needed Immediately

Yesterday the House approved a motion to go to conference to reconcile differences between the House and Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The House Republican conferees are:

  • Conference Chair: Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8)
  • Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA-22)
  • Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL-6)
  • Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6)
  • Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD-at large) *co-sponsor of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661)
  • Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT-1)
  • Rep. Don Young (R-AK-at large) *co-sponsor of H.R. 1661
  • Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR-2)
  • Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-15) *co-sponsor of H.R. 1661

House Democratic conferees were also appointed, though their influence will be limited: Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1) (the lead Democrat on the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act), Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI-9), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-3) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL-14).

The Senate has not yet announced its conferees or voted to go to conference, but ACTION members should begin outreach to House Republican conferees immediately to make the case for preserving Housing Bonds. Republican members who are not on the conference committee should still weigh in with leadership and the conferees.  

Over the weekend the Senate passed its tax reform bill, which retains the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds. The House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would retain the Housing Credit, but repeal private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds. If Housing Bonds are repealed, roughly 800,000 affordable homes would not be built or preserved over the next decade, according to analysis from Novogradac & Company.

See our overview of the provisions in the House and Senate tax reform bills impacting affordable housing and our priorities in conference. Our top priority as the House and Senate head to conference is the preservation of multifamily Housing Bonds, which face risk of elimination. 

Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for updated sample letters to members of Congress, talking points on Housing Bonds and more.

Senate Passes Tax Reform Bill, Urgent Action Needed to Protect Housing Bonds in Conference

Last night the Senate passed its version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by a vote of 51 - 49. All Democrats voted against the bill, in addition to Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). The Senate version of the bill retains the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds, which are essential for the production of roughly half of Housing Credit developments because they trigger the 4 percent Housing Credit. The Senate bill also makes several modifications directly and indirectly impacting the Housing Credit, outlined below.

The next step is for the two chambers to reconcile the differences between their bills. The House is expected to vote to proceed to a conference on Monday evening, and we expect negotiations to begin in earnest next week. It is also still possible that the House will forego a conference and instead vote on the Senate-passed version of the bill; however, at this point indications are that they will seek to conference their bills. 

The House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would retain the Housing Credit, but repeal private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds. If Housing Bonds are repealed, roughly 800,000 affordable homes would not be built over the next decade, according to analysis from Novogradac & Company. See state-by-state estimates of the impact  of eliminating Housing Bonds here.

Our top priority as the House and Senate head to conference is the preservation of multifamily Housing Bonds, which face risk of elimination. See our talking points on Housing Bonds and reach out to your Republican Senators and Representatives over the weekend insisting that Housing Bonds be retained in the final tax reform bill.

Earlier this week Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) sent a letter to House and Senate leadershipsigned by twenty additional Republican representatives urging for the restoration of private activity bonds, focusing on the need for bonds to support investments in our nation’s infrastructure and affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families. We encourage anyone represented by one of these members to thank them and ask for their continued support in a final bill.

We ask ACTION members to focus your energy squarely on protecting tax-exempt multifamily Housing Bonds. Please keep up your calls to members of Congress, especially Republicans, to make sure they understand all that is at stake. Make sure they are talking to their leadership and letting them know how important it is that they retain Housing Bonds in the final package.   

Modifications to the Housing Credit

The new version of the bill includes an amendment filed by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), which would make several additional changes to the Housing Credit:

  • Replace the existing Housing Credit general public use requirement exception for artist housing with one for veterans. Removing the current law safe harbor would put all existing artists' housing at risk for tax credit recapture, and
  • Treat rural areas as difficult development areas for purposes of receiving a basis boost. This provision is offset by reducing the maximum basis boost for all types of boost-eligible developments from 130 to 125 percent. The reduced basis boost could make some properties financially infeasible, particularly properties that have begun the development process but have not yet been placed in service, and we have and will continue to express those concerns as final negotiations progress. 

The version of the bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee included several no-cost proposals to strengthen the Housing Credit, taken from the Cantwell-Hatch Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548), but these provisions were not included in the version of bill that was voted on last night.

Other Provisions Impacting the Housing Credit

The Senate bill would lower the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent, which would reduce the tax benefits associated with the Housing Credit, credit pricing and ultimately affordable housing production. We will continue to seek a compensatory adjustment to sustain affordable housing production in a lower corporate rate environment in future tax legislation.

In addition, there is a provision related to a “base erosion and anti-abuse” tax that would eliminate banks’ ability to use the Housing Credit to offset certain taxes related to foreign earnings and earnings going to foreign parent companies, which will impact some Housing Credit investors.

We will continue to advocate to sustain affordable housing production in light of these changes.

Updated on December 4See how the House and Senate versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would affect affordable housing development using the Housing Credit.

Bipartisan Policy Center Finds Link between the Housing Credit and Public Health

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, Building the Case: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Health, uses the robust evidence base linking affordable housing to better health outcomes to conclude “the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit contributes positively to the nation’s public health.” As the primary source of financing for virtually all new affordable housing, there are many proven successes of the social, economic and education benefits of Housing Credit properties for families and communities. This report gathers research to support the less studied connection between the Housing Credit and health.

Highlights from the report:

  • The health of children is most positively impacted by affordable housing. Several studies found that children in unaffordable housing have higher rates of mental health problems, often lack basic access to primary pediatric care, suffer from behavioral or emotional problems due to frequent moving, experience poor nutrition and hospitalization and suffer from other health consequences due to unsafe housing conditions.
  • Incorporating supportive services in affordable housing – a growing trend in Housing Credit developments – improves health outcomes for residents and may have the potential to save health care costs for both patients and health care systems. One study found that combining affordable housing with intensive services for chronically ill homeless adults saved on average of $6,000 a year per person in health care costs.
  • When housing cost burdens are lowered, families are more easily able to afford healthy lifestyles and necessary health care services. High housing cost burdens were found to result in high prescription-drug non-adherence, poorer self-reported health issues and higher food insecurity.

The report also explores innovative efforts to leverage the Housing Credit to provide better individual and community health. Most notably, the incorporation of Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) into the development of state Qualified Allocation Plans (QAP) that govern how Housing Credits are awarded. HIA’s examine data, stakeholder comments and subject matter expertise to evaluate the potential public health consequences of policies and provide recommendations for minimizing negative health impacts and amplifying positive ones.

Though more research is required to demonstrate the specific ways Housing Credit-financed projects can impact heath, the growing evidence to support the linkage of affordable housing to improvements in health draws the logical conclusion that the Housing Credit is a critical policy tool for bettering the nation’s public health. As Congress moves quickly on tax reform, this provides yet another reason to sustain the pillars of our affordable housing delivery system – the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds.

ACTION Update: Senate to Vote on Tax Reform Bill this Week + More

Senate to Vote on Tax Reform Bill this Week; House-Passed Bill Eliminates Housing Bond Program

The Senate is beginning debate today on its tax reform bill. Leadership is now considering final modifications to the bill to shore up support among Republican members in advance of moving the bill to the floor for a vote, which could happen as early as tomorrow. The Senate needs only a simple 50-vote majority to the pass the bill.  

The version of the bill that was passed out of the Senate Finance Committee two weeks ago retains both the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds, and includes several no-cost provisions to strengthen the Housing Credit; however, a new version of the bill that reflects modifications agreed to since then may be introduced at any time before the vote.

Earlier this month the House approved its version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which retains the Housing Credit but would eliminate the tax-exemption on private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds. As written, this bill would reduce the future supply of affordable rental housing by nearly one million homes. Since then, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) has spearheaded a congressional Republican sign-on letter to House and Senate leadership opposing the proposed elimination of tax-exempt private activity bonds in the House’s tax reform bill, focusing on the need for bonds to support investments in our nation’s infrastructure and affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families. Twenty-one House Republicans, including Representative Hultgren, signed onto the letter. 

At this time, it is unclear whether the House and Senate will have a formal conference to reconcile differences between their bills, or if the Senate will make changes to its bill prior to its passage on the floor that would be palatable enough for House Republicans to pass that chamber unchanged.  

ACTION’s top priority is ensuring the preservation of the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing BondsAll ACTION members should continue to reach out to Republican Senators and Representatives to urge them to contact their leadership and tax committee chairs to insist that the final legislation preserve these critical programs. While we remain concerned about the impact of the lower corporate tax rate on affordable housing and will continue to seek opportunities to make changes to sustain affordable housing production in light of a reduced corporate tax rate, the threat of the elimination of Housing Bonds requires our full attention.

Outreach to the Senate:

  • We urge everyone to reach out to your Republican senators, both on and off the Finance Committee, and urge them to communicate to Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) their support for the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds, and tell them to make sure they retain these programs in the final legislation as negotiated with the House. 

Outreach to the House:

  • Urge your Republican House members to communicate to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) their support for retaining the Housing Credit and restoring Housing Bonds in any final legislation as negotiated with the Senate.

See our Advocacy Toolkit for:

Bipartisan Policy Center Report Suggests the Housing Credit Contributes to the Nation’s Public Health

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, Building the Case: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Health, finds that “the robust evidence base linking affordable housing to better health outcomes… makes it reasonable to believe that the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit contributes positively to the nation’s public health.” The report also finds that properties financed by the Housing Credit have contributed to social, economic, and educational benefits for communities and families; reduced homelessness; helped low-income families free up valuable dollars to spend on healthy food and health care services; and contributed to positive health outcomes, particularly for populations with special health needs such as HIV, asthma, or substance use disorders.

National and Local Media Highlight Impact of Tax Reform on Affordable Housing

The impact of tax reform on affordable housing has been covered in numerous local and national media outlets. See our Housing Credit in the News page to see the round-up of stories and op-eds, and check back often for the latest.

If you have any questions please contact Emily Cadik, Director, Public Policy, Enterprise Community Partners, at ecadik@enterprisecommunity.org or 202-403-8015, or Jennifer Schwartz, Assistant Director for Tax Policy and Advocacy, National Council of State Housing Agencies, at jschwartz@ncsha.org or 202-624-7758.

Rep. Hultgren Circulates Letter in Support of Private Activity Bonds, Outreach Needed

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) is circulating a letter to House and Senate leadership opposing the proposed elimination of tax exempt private activity bonds in the House’s version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), focusing on the need for private activity bonds to support investments in our nation’s infrastructure. The letter also objects to the elimination of advanced refunding bonds in the House bill. “Private activity bonds finance exactly the sorts of public private partnerships of which we need more of, not less,” the letter states. “These bonds help finance housing for low- to moderate-income families that otherwise would not get built; toll roads and expressways, airports and seaports; hospitals and universities.”

Rep. Hultgren will be adding Republican signatories from both the House and the Senate until noon on Monday, Nov. 27. Please urge your Republican Senators and Representatives to sign on by contacting Bill Hulse at bill.hulse@mail.house.gov in Rep. Hultgren’s office.

Eliminating private activity bonds would have a devastating effect on affordable housing. Multifamily Housing Bonds, which are a type of private activity bond, provide critical financing to more than half of all Housing Credit developments annually by triggering the “4 percent” Housing Credit. Without multifamily Housing Bonds, this housing simply would not be built. See our talking points on Housing Bonds.

According to Novogradac & Co., the proposed elimination of private activity bonds would result in a loss of roughly 788,000 to 881,000 affordable rental homes over the next decade. See how many affordable homes would be lost in your state. While the Senate version of the tax reform bill would retain private activity bonds, their inclusion in any final tax bill is incumbent on continued advocacy.

In addition to advocating for the preservation of Housing Bonds, we also continue to urge Senators to adopt a proposal that would sustain Housing Credit investment in light of the lower corporate rate. See our recent blog post on the latest developments in tax reform and advocacy needed, and visit our Advocacy Toolkit for more materials to assist in your outreach.

If you have any questions, please contact Emily Cadik, Director, Public Policy, Enterprise Community Partners, at ecadik@enterprisecommunity.org or 202-403-8015, or Jennifer Schwartz, Assistant Director for Tax Policy and Advocacy, National Council of State Housing Agencies, at jschwartz@ncsha.org or 202-624-7758.