September ACTION Update: Latest AHCIA Cosponsors, Retiring Affordable Housing Congressional Leads, & New ACTION Members

ACTION Campaign Monthly Call on Friday, September 6

We will be holding the ACTION Campaign’s monthly call on Friday, September 6 at 2 pm EST. Call-in Information:

  • Phone number: 866-469-3239

  • Access Code: 625 036 783 #

ACTION and Partners Continue to Collect Bipartisan Support for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act 

Thank you to all of our partners who reached out to their Members during August recess! Thanks to your support, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019 (AHCIA) continues to gain bipartisan support in both chambers. The Senate bill (S.1703 [congress.gov]) now has 18 bipartisan cosponsors, including 43 percent of the Senate Finance Committee. The House bill (H.R. 3077 [congress.gov]) has 74 total cosponsors, including 45 percent of the House Ways and Means Committee. For the most recent list of cosponsors, click here [static1.squarespace.com].

ACTION has a busy month of September ahead, with many meetings on the Hill with Congressional offices. We encourage our partners to join us in a big push this month to re-secure support from members of Congress who previously supported AHCIA in the 115th Congress, and to reach out to your Senators and Representative if she/he has yet to cosponsor AHCIA. There are numerous ACTION advocacy resources [rentalhousingaction.org] available online, including the recently updated District Fact Sheets [rentalhousingaction.org] and a video series [rentalhousingaction.org] breaking down the numerous provisions. As always, we are happy to help you prepare for your meetings with your members of Congress and/or their staff, either in DC or at home. 

Affordable Housing Congressional Leads Set to Retire

On August 28, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) announced [isakson.senate.gov] that he will retire from Congress at the end of 2019, prior to the end of his current term in 2022, citing numerous health issues. Senator Isakson is one of four lead sponsors of the Senate version of the AHCIA (S. 1703). On August 5, Congressman Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24) announced [marchant.house.gov] that he will not seek reelection in 2020. Representative Marchant is one of four lead sponsors of the House version of the AHCIA (H.R. 3077). 

ACTION is grateful for both Senator Isakson and Representative Marchant’s leadership on affordable housing. We look forward to Representative Marchant’s continued leadership through 2020. ACTION will continue to support the other legislative leads in both the Senate and House; Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN) will continue on as Republican champions of the legislation after their colleague’s departures.  

August New ACTION Members

ACTION is pleased to welcome the following new members who joined in August:

  • Enhanced Capital, National

  • Generation Development Group, Florida

  • Green National, New York

  • Joseph J. Duffy Co., Illinois

  • Metropolitan Planning Council, Illinois

  • Paterson Neighborhood Assistance, New Jersey

  • Wright Home Improvements, Georgia

Help us grow ACTION as the largest coalition of Housing Credit advocates! Please invite your state and local partners to also join ACTION [rentalhousingaction.org] so we can demonstrate to members of Congress that organizations and businesses in every community support strengthening and increasing the Housing Credit.

In the News… 

  • In an August 10 op-ed [berkshireeagle.com] placed in the Massachusett's Berkshire Eagle, Community Builders President and CEO Bart Mitchell writes about the AHCIA, noting for which Massachusett's own House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has been a longtime champion.

  • The August 15 K5 News article, "Washington lawmakers looking to expand the Affordable Housing Tax Credit [king5.com]," highlights Senator Cantwell and Representative DelBene's efforts to raise support for the AHCIA in Everett, noting the two lawmakers were supported by the mayors of Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett.

  • The August 15 Seattle Times article, "Cantwell, DelBene push big increase in affordable housing tax credits [seattletimes.com]," covers the lawmaker's speaking engagement at Plymouth on First, a facility financed with the housing credit that has 80 furnished studio apartments for people dealing with long-term homelessness and medical challenges. Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin is quoted saying, "Cities cannot do this alone. We need Congress and the federal government to be our partners in this."

  • The August 19 The Columbian article, "Cantwell pushes affordable housing in Vancouver visit [columbian.com]," relays Senator Cantwell’s recent visit to the grand opening of Caples Terrace, a 28-unit apartment complex in central Vancouver for homeless youth and youth aging out of foster care, made possible from housing credits. "No matter what we do locally, if we don't increase the amount of credit available federally, we are not going to solve this problem," said Cantwell.

  • The August 20 Spokesman-Review article, "'The lack of affordable housing is actually costing us’: Cantwell promotes affordable housing bill in Spokane [spokesman.com],” recounts Senator Cantwell’s recent visit to a new affordable housing complex in Spokane, WA and explains how the AHCIA will help communities in WA like Spokane, where the vacanacy rate of apartments is only 2 percent.

  • The August 25 Seattle Times editorial, “Good news in the fight for affordable housing [seattletimes.com],” uplifts the AHCIA, noting how the bipartisan bills sponsored by Senator Cantwell and Representative DelBene “would boost funding for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit – the federal government’s primary incentive for development of affordable rental housing.”

ACTION’s Updated District Fact Sheets Show Housing Credit’s Impact

The ACTION Campaign’s district fact sheets, which show the impact of the Housing Credit for each congressional district, have been updated with the latest available data. Advocates may use these district fact sheets when meeting with representatives in D.C. or at home during August recess.

Each district fact sheet provides a district-level snapshot of the number of homes developed or preserved with the Housing Credit, as well as estimates on the resulting number of jobs supported for one year, tax revenue generated, and wages and business income generated. The fact sheets also detail state-level data on the ongoing need for affordable housing, providing the number of renter households that pay more than half of their monthly income on rent and the number of hours a minimum wage worker has to work to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. The district fact sheets are a useful advocacy tool for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, providing the estimated additional affordable homes that could be built over the next ten years in each state through a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation authority, which is a provision of the 2019 House bill (H.R. 3077). 

With nearly 11 million households still paying more than half of their income towards rent, and the average minimum wage worker working 103 hours per week in order to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, there is still an immense need to expand the Housing Credit. Nationwide, the Housing Credit has financed more than 3 million apartments, providing affordable homes to 7.4 million low-income families and supporting 3.6 million jobs.

Utilize these district fact sheets as an advocacy tool to share the positive impact of the Housing Credit at home, and visit ACTION’s website to access the many other advocacy resources available.

For more advocacy tips and to hear the latest from D.C., be sure to tune into ACTION’s monthly call on Friday, August 2. For any other questions about finding or using ACTION resources, including the updated district fact sheets, please email kdalessandro@enterprisecommunity.org.

The district fact sheets have been updated with the latest Housing Credit data from the  HUD Low-Income Housing Tax Credit database  and other sources. To learn more about the data sources of ACTION’s fact sheets,  click here .

The district fact sheets have been updated with the latest Housing Credit data from the HUD Low-Income Housing Tax Credit database and other sources. To learn more about the data sources of ACTION’s fact sheets, click here.

August ACTION Update: Membership Month, New ACTION Resources, & AHCIA in the News

The ACTION Campaign’s monthly call will be held on Friday, August 2 at 2 pm EST.

Call-in Information:

  • Phone number: 866-469-3239

  • Access Code: 625 036 783 #

August is ACTION Membership Month!

Help us strengthen ACTION’s membership in the month of August. The ACTION Campaign has set two membership goals: (1) to continue to expand our network of members to cover communities nationwide and to include a broad range of affordable housing advocates and practitioners as well as cross-sector partners; and (2) to strengthen our membership database so that we can conduct more strategic, targeted field engagement. How can you help? In two easy steps!

Step 1:

Click here [salsa3.salsalabs.com] to check if your organization is currently a member of ACTION. 

Step 2:

Please invite your state and local partners to also join ACTION so we can demonstrate to Members of Congress that organizations and businesses in every community support strengthening and increasing the Housing Credit. We hope each ACTION member can recruit at least one additional organizational member in the month of August to join our broad coalition!

AHCIA Continues to Gain Bipartisan Support

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) continues to secure bipartisan support in the Senate and House, including ten new Senate co-sponsors. Joining the Senate bill’s sponsor Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and original co-sponsors Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) are Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Angus King, Jr. (I-ME), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Cory Gardner (R-CO). The identical House bill, introduced by Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) and original co-sponsors Representatives Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24), Don Beyer (D-VA-08), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), has also gained bipartisan support with 65 current co-sponsors.

Click here to view the most recent list of AHCIA co-sponsors by state. [salsa3.salsalabs.com] 

Now is the time for local advocacy! In order to best position AHCIA for any future tax vehicles, we need to continue collecting bipartisan support. If your Senator(s) or Representative has not yet co-sponsored AHCIA, please consider requesting a district office meeting during August recess. ACTION members can email kdalessandro@enterprisecommunity.org for help preparing for any upcoming meetings and to let us know how it went or if any follow-up is needed.

Let us know if you’re coming to DC! It is always powerful to have constituents in town who can advocate for the Housing Credit. Recently, we helped schedule meetings for our Trinity Health partners, including an opportunity for them to thank Senator Young for his leadership with AHCIA. ACTION’s DC leaders are always happy to help ACTION members when they come to town to advocate for the Housing Credit. 

New ACTION Steering Committee Members & July New Members

ACTION is pleased to announce that the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA), the National Housing Law Project, and Smart Growth America have joined ACTION’s Steering Committee [salsa3.salsalabs.com]. ACTION’s Steering Committee is composed of national organizations that are leading in the affordable housing space with a demonstrated commitment to supporting the Housing Credit. We are pleased to induct these three impactful and dedicated partners into the Steering Committee!

ACTION is also pleased to welcome the following new members who joined in July

  • Chrisman Development, Oregon

  • Community Housing Action Partnership, West Virginia

  • Fairfax County NAACP, Virginia

  • HAI Group, National

  • Integrated Service LLC, Minnesota

  • Opa-locka Community Development Corporation, Florida

  • Viva Consulting, National

New and Updated ACTION Resources

New AHCIA Video Series. The AHCIA includes more than two dozen provisions that draw on the expertise of many practitioners, developers, and Housing Credit advocates. In order to help advocates understand each important provision in the bill, ACTION created a new series of short videos. In the AHCIA video series, Sarah Brundage, Senior Director of Public Policy at Enterprise, and Jennifer Schwartz, Director of Tax and Housing Advocacy at the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), provide an overview of each of the provisions, explaining the background and what that provision would do. Please watch and share these new ACTION resources! [salsa3.salsalabs.com] 

Updated District Fact Sheets. ACTION's District Fact Sheets have been updated with the most recently available data. These fact sheets are available for every Congressional District. Advocates can use these District Fact Sheets to educate their representatives on how many affordable homes the Housing Credit has helped develop or preserve, as well as estimated economic benefits. Click here [salsa3.salsalabs.com] for ACTION's updated District Fact Sheets, as well as our State Fact Sheets.

Updated Issue Fact Sheets. ACTION has updated our Issue Fact Sheets including: health outcomes, rural communities, seniors, supportive housing, Native American communities, and veterans. These fact sheets are useful for explaining how the Housing Credit, and the AHCIA in particular, will help serve these special interests and/or communities. The updated Issue Fact Sheets can be found in ACTION's Advocacy Toolkit [salsa3.salsalabs.com].

In the News...

On July 21, the New York Times ran a letter to the editor [salsa3.salsalabs.com] by Emily Cadik, executive director of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, an ACTION Steering Committee member. Cadik responded to the NYT’s prior editorial [salsa3.salsalabs.com] on presidential candidates’ proposals to address the high cost of housing, noting that the Housing Credit is an effective tool that already exists and is up for an expansion this year through the AHCIA. “Let’s hope the candidates consider options that not only lay out big plans for the future but that also can start making a difference right away,” Cadik wrote.

On July 16, a Sacramento Bee article [salsa3.salsalabs.com] mentioned the AHCIA and how the bill would provide for an estimated 500,000 more affordable homes over the next ten years. The article had a California focus but quoted several ACTION members, including the California Housing Partnership and Enterprise, and uplifted the Housing Credit: “The low-income housing tax credit is the primary federal program for funding affordable housing projects. It promises a tax credit to private companies — usually banks — that fund housing accessible to low-income families. It’s a program that has received broad bipartisan support over the years.”

Watch New ACTION Videos About AHCIA Provisions!

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019 (AHCIA) was reintroduced in both the Senate (S. 1703) and the House (H.R. 3077) on June 4. AHCIA would make significant strides towards addressing our nation’s severe shortage of affordable housing by expanding and strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), our nation’s most successful tool for encouraging private investment in the production and preservation of affordable rental housing.

The identical Senate and House bills contain more than two dozen provisions that draw on the expertise of many practitioners, developers, and Housing Credit advocates, and have the consensus support of the broad affordable housing industry that the ACTION Campaign represents. The bill has already received wide bipartisan support in Congress, and in particular from members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees. AHCIA would increase Housing Credit authority by 50 percent, taking a meaningful step towards addressing our nation’s vast and growing affordable housing needs. This legislation would also strengthen the Housing Credit by providing states with additional flexibility, making the financing of affordable housing more predictable and streamlined, facilitating Housing Credit development in challenging markets like rural and Native American communities, increasing the Housing Credit’s ability to serve extremely low-income tenants, and supporting the preservation of existing affordable housing. The legislation also contains important provisions that would support development of rental homes using the Housing Credit coupled with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide critical financing to roughly 40 percent of Housing Credit apartments. In total, it is estimated that AHCIA would increase the supply of affordable rental housing by more than half a million units over 10 years.

To help advocates understand each important provision in the bill, ACTION created a new series of short videos covering each of the provisions in AHCIA.

In these ACTION videos, Sarah Brundage, Senior Director of Public Policy at Enterprise, and Jennifer Schwartz, Director of Tax and Housing Advocacy at the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), provide an overview of each of the provisions, explaining the background and what that provision would do. Please watch and share these new ACTION resources!

 

July ACTION Update: Monthly Call Rescheduled for July 12, AHCIA Advocacy Tips & Related Legislation

ACTION Campaign Monthly Call Rescheduled for Friday, July 12

We will be holding the ACTION Campaign’s monthly call on Friday, July 12 at 2 pm EST. ACTION’s monthly calls are typically held on the first Friday of the month; however, July’s call has been rescheduled to Friday, July 12 due to the July 4 holiday.

Call-in Information:

  • Phone number: 866-469-3239

  • Access Code: 625 036 783 #

Time to Take Action and Garner Bipartisan Support for AHCIA!

On June 4, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) was reintroduced in both the Senate (S.1703) and the House (H.R.3077). The reintroduction of this bipartisan, consensus bill follows months of work from the Congressional offices leading on the bill, the ACTION Campaign, and other national and state partners. ACTION applauds the bill’s Congressional champions for their leadership and support of the Housing Credit, and we thank our national coalition of partners for their passionate and nimble advocacy!

We especially thank our Senate leads, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and our House leads, Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN).

Since its introduction, ACTION has already been busy meeting with Congressional offices and drumming up new and renewed bipartisan support for both the Senate and House bills. The House bill (H.R.3077) has already collected a total of 38 co-sponsors. The Senate bill is generating a bipartisan list of co-sponsors which will be publicly filed in the near future.

Please join us in thanking our Congressional champions! If one of your elected officials has already co-sponsored the AHCIA, please take a moment to thank them for their support by email or phone. ACTION has provided sample thank you text for Senate and House co-sponsors, available in our advocacy toolkit.

Now is the time for ACTION’s powerful and extensive network to take action and garner as much bipartisan support for the AHCIA as we can. More than 2,200 national, state, and local organizations signed on to ACTION’s letter urging Congress to advance the AHCIA. On the July 12 ACTION call, we will discuss tips and strategies for advocating for the AHCIA, but here are some starter suggestions:

  • Review the key provisions of the bill. ACTION will be producing and sharing advocacy resources to explain the many provisions in the AHCIA (stay tuned for video clips!), but to start, advocates can read a one-page summary, review a new resource highlighting the enhancements to the latest version of the AHCIA, or look up a brief explainer for a specific provision in our detailed bill summary.

  • Prepare to share your local perspective on why we need to build and preserve more affordable housing. The bill may be technical, but your advocacy message does not have to be! It is powerful for Members of Congress to hear from her/his constituents about the affordable housing needs at home. Share your perspective on why we need to build and preserve more affordable housing, how the need for affordable housing is impacting your community, and why this is a top issue for constituents at home. If you can, it’s also extremely helpful to share updates and/or pictures of recent Housing Credit properties and describe that development’s benefits to showcase how the Housing Credit is our most successful tool for financing affordable housing developments.

  • Schedule district office meetings with your elected officials or reach out to us if you’re planning a trip to DC. Congress is on recess this week—the week of July 1—and will be again in August. Reach out to your Members’ district offices and invite them to tour a site or request a meeting while they are at home. Or if you’re planning a trip to DC, you can reach out to us for help scheduling and preparing for meetings on the Hill (email sbrundage@enterprisecommunity.org).

  • Utilize ACTION resources for your advocacy. ACTION has produced numerous resources for advocates to prepare and share when meeting with Members of Congress. We recommend bringing along copies of the following resources to leave behind:

Always check back to www.rentalhousingaction.org/advocacytoolkit to download and print the latest version of these resources. For more advocacy tips and to hear the latest from DC, be sure to tune into ACTION’s monthly call on July 12! For any questions about finding or using ACTION resources, please email kdalessandro@enterprisecommunity.org.

Other Related Legislation

Qualified contract stand-alone bill, The Save Affordable Housing Act, introduced. On June 25, legislators introduced a bipartisan bill, The Save Affordable Housing Act of 2019, that would amend the qualified contract provision in Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Save Affordable Housing Act of 2019 was introduced with bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House. The Senate bill (S.1956) was introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-WA) and Todd Young (R-IN), with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) as original co-sponsors, and the House bill (H.R.3479) was introduced by Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO-02), Don Beyer (D-VA-08), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02).

The Save Affordable Housing Act of 2019 would:

  • Repeal the qualified contract option in Section 42 for future developments (after December 31, 2018), thus eliminating the qualified contract provision being used as an opt-out for properties awarded credits or bonds beginning in 2019; and

  • Correct the statutory price for purchase of existing properties so that it is based on the fair market value of the property as affordable housing.

The Save Affordable Housing Act of 2019 aims to ensure that both current and future affordable housing properties financed by the Housing Credit fulfill the program’s 30-year affordability commitment.

LIHTC-DR boost for California advances in recent tax extenders package. On June 18, the House Ways and Means Committee marked-up and passed four bills, including H.R. 3301, The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019. Introduced by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA-05), this bill includes a temporary increase in Housing Credit authority for 2017 and 2018 disaster areas in California. This bill was advanced by Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) as part of a tax credits package and was approved out of Committee.  

New ACTION Fact Sheets Show the Housing Bond’s Impact and Estimated Benefits from a Minimum 4 Percent Housing Credit Rate

The ACTION Campaign (ACTION) is pleased to release new fact sheets that demonstrate the impact of Housing Bonds and the 4 percent Housing Credit, as well as the projected additional affordable homes from establishing a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate at the national scale and for the top 12 states that would benefit.

Housing Bonds, together with the 4 percent Housing Credit, are one of the primary tools for preserving our nation’s existing affordable housing stock. Housing Bonds have been used with the Housing Credit to finance 1.1 million affordable homes nationwide. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 1703 and H.R. 3077) would establish a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate, which would result in an estimated 66,000 additional affordable homes over the next ten years.

About Housing Bonds and the 4% Housing Credit

Multifamily Housing Bonds (Housing Bonds) are a type of tax-exempt private activity bond used by state and local housing finance agencies—often in conjunction with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit)—to acquire, construct, and rehabilitate affordable multifamily housing for low-income renters.

Housing Bonds provide financing to roughly half of all developments financed each year with the Housing Credit, our nation’s primary tool for building and preserving affordable housing. There are two components of the Housing Credit program – the “9 percent Housing Credit” and the “4 percent Housing Credit.” The 4 percent Housing Credit can only be accessed when Housing Bonds are used to finance at least half of a development’s cost. While Housing Bonds and the 4 percent Housing Credit can be used for either new construction or rehabilitation, they are commonly used for rehabilitation because it is often more cost effective to preserve existing affordable housing with this tool.

New ACTION Fact Sheets on Housing Bonds and the 4% Housing Credit

ACTION’s new National Fact Sheet on Housing Bonds and the 4 percent Housing Credit shows that 1.1 million affordable homes nationwide have been financed using a combination of Housing Bonds and the Housing Credit, serving an estimated 2.6 million low-income households. These Housing Bond-financed affordable homes have also supported an estimated 1.2 million jobs and generated approximately $46.6 billion in tax revenue and $118 billion in wages and business income.

Without Housing Bonds, the 4 percent Housing Credit would not finance tens of thousands of affordable rental homes each year. However, setting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate would allow even more affordable rental housing to be built. Currently, the 4 percent Housing Credit rate is much lower than Congress originally intended because it fluctuates monthly based on a formula tied to federal borrowing rates. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 1703 and H.R. 3077) would establish a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate, which would result in an estimated 66,000 additional affordable homes nationwide over the next ten years.

Click here to view ACTION’s National Fact Sheet on Housing Bonds

Top 12 States that would benefit from a Minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate:

1.      California Housing Bond Fact Sheet

2.      New York Housing Bond Fact Sheet

3.      Texas Housing Bond Fact Sheet

4.      Washington Housing Bond Fact Sheet

5.      Florida Housing Bond Fact Sheet

6.      Massachusetts Housing Bond Fact Sheet

7.      Illinois Housing Bond Fact Sheet

8.      Georgia Housing Bond Fact Sheet

9.      Ohio Housing Bond Fact Sheet

10.  Minnesota Housing Bond Fact Sheet

11.  Colorado Housing Bond Fact Sheet

12.  Missouri Housing Bond Fact Sheet

For more information on these projections, please see Novogradac’s blog post.

JOIN THE ACTION SIGN-ON LETTER!

On June 4, the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 1703 and H.R. 3077) was reintroduced in both the Senate and the House! The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) would establish a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate. The AHCIA would also increase the Housing Credit allocation authority by 50 percent, resulting in an estimated 384,500 additional affordable homes. Those two provisions alone – both included in the Senate and House versions of the AHCIA – would result in approximately 450,500 additional affordable homes over the next ten years.

The ACTION Campaign will be submitting a letter to Congress demonstrating our strong support for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. Read the letter and sign on to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019. The deadline for signing on to the letter is Tuesday, June 11.

All existing ACTION Campaign members will be included in the letter, so if you are already an ACTION Campaign member you do NOT need to sign on. However, we encourage you to share the letter with your networks to help us show broad support for the Housing Credit.

If you have any questions or wish to remove your organization from the letter, contact Sarah Brundage at sbrundage@enterprisecommunity.org by the June 11 deadline.

 

Senators and Representatives Reintroduce the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act; Join ACTION Sign-On Letter in Support of Both Bipartisan Bills!

Today Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) of 2019 (S. 1703 and H.R. 3077), bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). The ACTION Campaign applauds these affordable housing Congressional champions for their leadership and support of the Housing Credit!

Both S. 1703 and H.R. 3077 include a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit authority, from which the ACTION Campaign estimates 384,500 additional affordable homes could be built over the next ten years. Both bills would also establish a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate, which would allow for an estimated 66,000 additional affordable homes to be built over the next ten years. In total, those two provisions alone in the AHCIA would provide for approximately 450,500 additional affordable homes over the next ten years.

The AHCIA also includes more than two dozen other provisions that would help preserve existing affordable housing, facilitate Housing Credit development for extremely low-income households and in hard-to-serve communities, provide state Housing Credit allocating agencies new tools to strengthen program oversight, and streamline rules to create efficiencies in program administration. New provisions in the AHCIA this Congress would help the Housing Credit better serve rural areas, encourage cost reasonableness, and maximize Private Activity Bond affordable housing resources, among other changes.

For more information on the bill, you can find the following resources at www.rentalhousingaction.org/advocacytoolkit:

  • AHCIA one-page summary

  • AHCIA detailed bill summary

  • AHCIA differences between 116th and 115th Congress

JOIN THE ACTION SIGN-ON LETTER!

The ACTION Campaign will be submitting a letter to Congress demonstrating our strong support for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.  Read the letter and sign on to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019. The deadline for signing on to the letter is Tuesday, June 11.

All existing ACTION Campaign members will be included in the letter, so if you are already an ACTION Campaign member you do NOT need to sign on. However, we encourage you to share the letter with your networks to help us show broad support for the Housing Credit.

If you have any questions or wish to remove your organization from the letter, contact Sarah Brundage at sbrundage@enterprisecommunity.org by the June 11 deadline.

June ACTION Update: AHCIA Reintroduction Expected Soon!

AHCIA Reintroduction Expected Soon

The ACTION Campaign and our Congressional partners have been hard at work to finalize both the Senate and House versions of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA). We are expecting the reintroduction of the bipartisan bill at the start of the June working session. As soon as the AHCIA is reintroduced, ACTION will share an update, including a summary of the bill, and we will call on our partners to sign on to a letter urging Members of Congress to support the advancement of this critical legislation. Stay tuned!

Senate Finance Committee Forming Bipartisan Taskforces to Examine Certain Expiring/Expired Tax Provisions

On May 16, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced that the Senate Finance Committee is forming six bipartisan taskforces to examine a total of 42 temporary tax provisions that expired, or will expire, between December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2019. In his remarks on the Senate floor, Chairman Grassley noted that the taskforces will be charged to examine the temporary tax policies and to work with stakeholders, other Senate offices, and interested parties “to consider the original purpose of the policy and whether the need for the provision continues today.” The taskforces will be asked “to identify possible solutions that would provide long-term certainty” for each of the 42 expired or expiring tax provisions, which may mean: elimination; a phase-out; a scale-back in exchange for long-term extension or permanency; a short-term extension as is; a long-term extension as is; or permanency. Senator Grassley also noted that the taskforces will complete their efforts by the end of June.

Of the six bipartisan taskforces, the Employment & Community Development Taskforce is expected to consider the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) and would also be the taskforce interested in other community development tax provisions such as those related to the Housing Credit. The Employment & Community Development Taskforce will be co-led by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and also includes Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), James Lankford (R-OK), Todd Young (R-IN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

Public comments can be submitted to the Employment & Community Development Taskforce at Employment&Development_Taskforce@finance.senate.gov

To view Chairman Grassley’s press release, click here.
To view Chairman Grassley’s remarks, click here.  

ACTION Submits Letter to House Financial Services in Response to Housing Infrastructure Hearing

On April 30, the House Financial Services held a hearing, Housing in America: Assessing the Infrastructure Needs of America’s Housing Stock. The ACTION Campaign submitted a letter for the record, thanking Chairwoman Waters for her dedication to affordable housing and encouraging the Committee to support the inclusion of provisions of the AHCIA bill in any infrastructure package, given the Housing Credit’s key role in financing affordable housing. Click here to view ACTION’s letter.

Updated Fact Sheets Show the Housing Credit’s Impact Nationwide and in Every State

Nationwide, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) has financed nearly 3.2 million rental units, providing approximately 7.4 million low-income households with homes they can afford. These national figures reflect the most recently available data, and are provided on the ACTION Campaign’s newly updated National Fact Sheet.

In addition, the National Fact Sheet highlights that the Housing Credit has supported approximately 3.6 million jobs and generated approximately $135 billion in tax revenue and $344 billion in wages and business income.

However, while the Housing Credit has provided immense benefits for low-income households and the economy, much more affordable housing is still needed nationwide. Nearly 10.8 million renter households pay more than half of their monthly income on rent alone, leaving too little for other expenses like health care, transportation, and nutritious food. A minimum wage worker has to work 99 hours per week in order to afford a one-bedroom apartment at the national average fair market rent.

The ACTION Campaign advocates for the expansion of the Housing Credit so that it can further address our nation’s severe shortage of affordable housing. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would provide a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation authority, which would result in an estimated 384,455 additional affordable homes across U.S. states and territories over the next ten years.

Click here to view the ACTION Campaign’s updated National Fact Sheet

The ACTION Campaign has also updated these figures at the state-level, including the estimated additional affordable homes that could be built through a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation. These advocacy tools demonstrate the Housing Credit’s impact in each state and can be used to call for the expansion and strengthening of the Housing Credit.

Click here to view the ACTION Campaign’s updated State Fact Sheets

The National and State Fact Sheets have been updated with data from the 2017 National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) State HFA Factbook, 2017 American Community Survey, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2018 Out of Reach report, new calculations by Novogradac, and estimates using multipliers from the National Association of Home Builders. Click here for more detailed information on the data sources and methodology.

The ACTION Campaign’s District Fact Sheets will be updated with new data this summer.

For questions about these and other ACTION resources, please contact Sarah Brundage at sbrundage@enterprisecommunity.org.

May ACTION Update: Congress Returns from Recess, House Financial Services Hearing on Infrastructure

Congress Returns from Recess, AHCIA Continues to Progress Toward Reintroduction

This week, Congress returns from recess and will resume efforts to advance future bipartisan packages and legislation, including the expected Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA). It is expected for Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA) to respectively introduce the Senate and House bills with bipartisan original co-sponsors in the month of May. The AHCIA will, once again, include numerous important provisions that will help strengthen the Housing Credit. We expect the centerpiece provisions of the AHCIA to be a cap increase and a minimum 4% Credit Rate for bond-financed properties.

 As soon as the AHCIA is reintroduced, ACTION will share an update, including a summary of the bill, and we will call on our partners to sign on to a letter urging Members of Congress to support the advancement of this critical legislation. With the 2020 election likely to draw a lot of focus next year, the 116th Congress is a critical period to secure the much-needed investments in affordable housing that the AHCIA would provide.

House Financial Services Holds Housing Infrastructure Hearing; Chairwoman Waters Introduces Housing Infrastructure Legislation

On Tuesday, April 30, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing, Housing in America: Assessing the Infrastructure Needs of America’s Housing Stock. The ACTION Campaign will be submitting a letter for the record, thanking Chairwoman Waters for her dedication to affordable housing and encouraging the Committee to support the inclusion of provisions of the AHCIA bill in any infrastructure package, given the Housing Credit’s key role in financing affordable housing. The Hearing will focus in large part on House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters’s (D-CA) recently released draft legislation, titled the Housing Is Infrastructure Act of 2019, which would authorize $92 billion for HUD affordable housing and related programs, including the Public Housing Capital Fund, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and the Housing Trust Fund.

April ACTION Update: House Committee Members Share Support for Housing as Infrastructure

Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Update

ACTION is continuing to work closely with congressional champions in the House and the Senate to finalize the bill text, secure Republican lead sponsors, and reintroduce the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit. ACTION will send out a notice as soon as the bill is re-introduced. We will also circulate an organizational sign-on letter so that we can once again demonstrate broad support for the legislation. Ensuring strong bipartisan support of this legislation is critical as Congress considers potential legislative packages that may serve as a vehicle to advance Housing Credit provisions. Stay tuned to our blog for updates on the Housing Credit and opportunities to strengthen and expand the program.

House Committee Members Highlight Why Affordable Housing Should be Included in an Infrastructure Package

On March 6 the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing entitled “Our Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure and the Need for Immediate Action.” Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), long-time affordable housing and community development champion, stated in his opening remarks that “we must reinvest in our urban and rural communities through successful programs like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit.” Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) also emphasized the importance of affordable housing, stating that the working men and women of America “not only have to get to work but also have stable and reliable homes that are a reasonable distance from work.” The ACTION Campaign submitted a statement for the record in response to the hearing thanking the Chairman and other Committee members for support of the Housing Credit and the multifamily Housing Bond program, and to express upon the Committee that affordable housing is a critical part of a country’s infrastructure, as much as roads and public utilities. The ACTION letter urged the Committee to ensure that any infrastructure bill includes a housing title that makes central the proposals likely to be included in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act upon its reintroduction.

March ACTION Update: Lawmakers Turn Attention to FY 2020 Appropriations and Other Legislative Priorities

Lawmakers Divert Second Government Shutdown, Turn Attention to FY 2020 Appropriations and Other Legislative Priorities

Earlier this month Congress passed and the president signed full-year spending bills to fund the agencies that had been operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The bill provides enough money to fully fund renewals for tenant-based and project-based vouchers, and sets aside $25 million for a family mobility demonstration program that aims to help families move to and remain in lower-poverty neighborhoods. It also provides $1.25 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, a HUD block grant program that is often used as a gap filler in Housing Credit developments. This represents an 8 percent reduction in HOME since FY 2018, but is still HOME’s second highest allocation since FY 2011. 

Appropriators will now turn their attention to the FY 2020 appropriations process, which will require lawmakers to agree to raise the spending caps enacted in the Budget Control Act of 2011 in order to avoid dramatic cuts across federal programs in FY 2020.

While there was talk of attaching a tax extenders package to the FY 2019 appropriations bill, it ultimately advanced without any tax provisions. There may be another effort to extend expired tax provisions later this year, which could offer an opportunity to advance other tax priorities, including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit).

Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Update

The government shutdown delayed congressional action on many legislative priorities, but offices are picking up the pace on finalizing legislation now that FY 2019 funding negotiations have ended. ACTION is working closely with congressional champions in the House and Senate to finalize bill text, secure Republican lead sponsors, and reintroduce the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit. Stay tuned to our blog for updates on the Housing Credit and opportunities to advocate in support of the program.

Congressional Hearings Highlight Importance of Affordable Housing

On February 13 the House Financial Services Committee convened a hearing entitled “Homelessness in America: Examining the Crisis and Solutions to End Homelessness.” The full committee hearing focused on both the causes of and solutions to homelessness, and many panel members testified on the importance of addressing housing affordability issues as a critical homelessness-prevention tool. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) stated during the hearing that the Housing Credit, which enjoys bipartisan support, is the primary tool for promoting affordable housing. The House Ways and Means Committee also held a hearing on February 13 – “How Middle Class Families are Faring in Today’s Economy” – in which Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), a strong supporter of the Housing Credit, spoke about the importance of affordable rental housing.

Senate Banking Committee to Vote on Mark Calabria as FHFA Director

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will vote on the nomination of Mark Calabria to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) this Thursday, February 28. Earlier this month Dr. Calabria testified before the Senate Banking Committee on his nomination to lead FHFA, where he faced questions regarding previous statements supporting the elimination of affordable housing goals for the GSEs, as well as his intentions regarding the future of the Capital Magnet and Housing Trust Funds. Regarding his authority to suspend payments to these programs, Calabria stated that the standard to suspend payments was “mechanical,” rather than discretionary, and added that under the current economic conditions the payments were not at risk of being suspended. When asked whether he would commit to preserving strong affordable housing goals, he stated that he would, “within the confines of the statute.”

FHA to Expand Pilot Program Focused on Accelerating Financing of Housing Credit Projects

HUD has announced the expansion of a pilot program that streamlines Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance applications for affordable housing developments that have equity from Housing Credits. FHA is expanding this pilot to include new construction and substantial rehabilitation under its Section 221(d)(4) and Section 220 Programs. The program is intended to ensure faster and more efficient processing for low-risk, Housing Credit transactions by eliminating redundant reviews.

February ACTION Update: Congressional Champions Preparing to Reintroduce Housing Credit Legislation

Government Shutdown Ends with Temporary Funding Agreement

The partial government shutdown ended over the weekend when Congress and the White House agreed to fund the government through February 15 and provide lawmakers additional time to negotiate a larger immigration and border security agreement. Congress’s immediate focus will be reaching a full-year funding agreement to avoid lapsing into another shutdown on the 15th. Congressional activity related to other policy areas, including potential tax extenders legislation, has been effectively on hold since the shutdown standoff began but the government reopening may present an opening for negotiations to begin again. As always, ACTION is seeking any opportunity to advance provisions to strengthen and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and we encourage stakeholders to stay tuned for advocacy updates.

Congressional Champions Preparing to Reintroduce Housing Credit Legislation

ACTION has been working closely with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) on the reintroduction of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in both chambers, including legislative tweaks and identifying new lead Republican sponsors to take the place of former Chairman Orrin Hatch and former Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Before a bill is re-introduced it is important to begin building support among new members of Congress and encourage previous supporters to sign on as original co-sponsors. If you are meeting with your members of Congress in the coming weeks we encourage you to:

We will be updating the Advocacy Toolkit with new materials for the 116th Congress when a bill is introduced. In the meantime, the ACTION State and District Fact Sheets, ACTION Campaign Members by state, and the 4 Percent Credit Rate Fact Sheet are valuable resources to share with Members of Congress and their staff.

Administration Signals Plan to End Government Control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The White House is expected to announce a plan by next month to end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs), which have been under the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) conservatorship since September 2008. Joseph Otting, the agency’s acting director, told FHFA employees that the Administration would not wait on Congress, where efforts to overhaul the housing finance system have failed over the past decade. FHFA announced in November 2017 that the GSEs would be allowed to re-enter the Housing Credit market on a limited basis ($500 million in annual investments for each GSE) with the goal of preserving affordable housing, supporting mixed-income housing, providing supportive housing, and meeting other affordable housing objectives. It is unclear how the White House’s plan will impact the GSEs involvement in the Housing Credit market.

January ACTION Update: ACTION Remains Committed to Strengthening and Expanding the Housing Credit in the 116th Congress

Government Shutdown Continues Without Clear Resolution

Congress and the White House were unable to reach an agreement on fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations before funding expired on December 21, resulting in a partial government shutdown affecting eight Departments, including HUD and the Treasury Department. Democrats are expected to pass a bill to reopen the government when they take control of the House on January 3, including full FY 2019 funding for eight unfunded Departments. House Democrats also plan to pass a continuing resolution (CR) for the Department of Homeland Security until February 8 to provide additional time for border security negotiations. The Senate is unlikely to pass these bills since they are not expected to include the President's requested funding for a border wall. Top congressional lawmakers are scheduled to meet with the President this afternoon to discuss border security, but the path forward for funding negotiations remains unclear. Further, Congress did not pass a tax package at the end of last year and it remains to be seen at what point a tax package may enter the discussion in the new Congress.

ACTION Remains Committed to Strengthening and Expanding the Housing Credit

Despite an unclear legislative outlook in early 2019, we will now hit the ground running to build on the strong momentum we generated for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in the last Congress. ACTION will be working closely with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) to identify new lead Republican sponsors in both the House and Senate, and reintroduce the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. Advocacy in support of the Housing Credit in the coming weeks will be important to sustain strong bipartisan support for the Credit, as well as educate new members of Congress about the Housing Credit in advance of the bill's introduction. It is also critical that all Housing Credit stakeholders thank your members of Congress who previously co-sponsored the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and ask for their continued support this year.

December ACTION Update: Year-End Tax Package Uncertain as Government Shutdown Looms

Year-End Tax Package Uncertain as Government Shutdown Looms

Last week House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced tax legislation that would renew expired tax provisions, make technical fixes to last year's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, provide incentives for retirement savings, and offer tax relief for natural disaster victims. The tax package also includes a technical correction that would modify the general public use rule for multifamily Housing Bonds to clarify that there is an exemption for properties serving veterans. It is unclear whether lawmakers will move forward with negotiations on this package in the lame duck or wait until the next Congress to consider tax legislation. House Republican leadership intended to vote on the proposal last week, but it was ultimately postponed because a large number of representatives were absent and thus the package lacked the votes to advance.

Complicating matters is the fact that there is limited legislative time remaining this year and lawmakers’ top priority is finalizing fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations before the current continuing resolution (CR) funding many government functions expires on December 7. The President has said he will veto any spending package that does not include his requested funding for border security, which would result in a partial government shutdown. However, given former President George H. W. Bush’s passing over the weekend, lawmakers and White House officials are considering a potential one- or two-week CR during the week of national mourning. Despite an unclear path forward, our champions in Congress are looking for any opportunity to advance the minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate and other provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Opportunities and Challenges for Affordable Housing in the Next Congress

With Democrats taking control of the House and Republicans strengthening their hold in the Senate, the 116th Congress will present both opportunities and challenges for affordable housing priorities. ACTION members in D.C. have been working closely with our congressional champions to prepare for reintroducing the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act next year. With Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) retiring and Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) losing his bid for reelection, we will be seeking new Republican sponsors in both the House and Senate. And with more than 80 members of Congress not returning to Washington next year, including more than 40 co-sponsors of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, we will be working hard to educate new members and their staff about the Housing Credit.

In addition to new lead sponsors and a divided government next year, there will also be important changes on the committees that oversee tax legislation, including the Housing Credit. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) will become Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden (R-OR) – a strong supporter of the Housing Credit – will remain Ranking Member. Sen. Grassley is expected to focus on oversight of tax expenditures during his Chairmanship. In the House, long-time Housing Credit supporter and current lead sponsor Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) will become Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, with former Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) becoming Ranking Member. A top priority for Democrats in the next Congress will be passage of a large infrastructure package, which presents an opportunity to advance affordable housing priorities.

Advocacy in support of the Housing Credit next year will be important to ensure continued momentum. With the recent additions of Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Doug Jones (D-AL), the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) has 45 co-sponsors – 11 Republicans, 32 Democrats and 2 Independents. The House version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661) has a total of 181 co-sponsors – 82 Republicans and 99 Democrats. We will hit the ground running next year to rebuild strong support for the Housing Credit.

Updated Fact Sheets Show the Housing Credit’s Impact in Every Congressional District

To support upcoming advocacy efforts, we have updated the ACTION Campaign’s District Fact Sheets with the most recent data to show the Housing Credit’s impact in each congressional district and the affordable housing needs that remain in every state. Last month, ACTION also updated its state fact sheets showing that the Housing Credit has financed more than 3 million apartments nationwide, providing affordable homes to 7.2 million low-income families and supporting 3.4 million jobs. New to both the state and district fact sheets this year are data demonstrating the impact that a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit resources would have in each state. We urge all affordable housing advocates to share these fact sheets with members of Congress and ask for their support of the Housing Credit.

ACTION Submits Comments on CRA Modernization

On November 19, the ACTION Campaign submitted a comment letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) urging the regulator to continue to support robust investment in the Housing Credit. The OCC will now review public comments responding to its advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) before releasing a proposed rule, which offers an additional opportunity for public input. Typically all three federal banking regulators – the OCC, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – work together on regulatory changes, but it is yet to be seen whether the Federal Reserve and FDIC will join the OCC in subsequent steps of the rulemaking process.

Updated Fact Sheets Show the Housing Credit's Impact in Every Congressional District

The ACTION Campaign’s district fact sheets, which show the Housing Credit’s impact in each congressional district and the affordable housing needs that still remain in every state, have been updated to reflect the most recent data available.

The data come from HUD’s LIHTC database through 2016, with economic impact multipliers from the National Association of Home Builders. The district fact sheets also include data on cost-burdened renters from the 2016 American Community Survey, and data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2016 Out of Reach report, showing how many hours a minimum wage worker in each state has to work in order to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.

We also updated our state fact sheets last month, showing that the Housing Credit has financed more than 3 million apartments nationwide, providing affordable homes to 7.2 million low-income families and supporting 3.4 million jobs. However, 11 million households still pay more than half of their income towards rent, and the average minimum wage worker has to work 90 hours per week in order to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, underscoring the need to expand the Housing Credit and invest in communities across the country.

New to both the state and district fact sheets this year is data demonstrating the impact that a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation authority would have in each state. The Cantwell-Hatch Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548), bipartisan legislation to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit, includes a 50 percent increase in allocation authority. According to recent estimates from accounting firm Novogradac & Company, a 50 percent expansion of the Housing Credit would allow more than 264,200 additional affordable homes to be built nationally over the next ten years.

November ACTION Update: Lame Duck Legislative Agenda Hinges on Outcome of Midterm Elections

Lame Duck Legislative Agenda Hinges on Outcome of Midterm Elections

The outcome of tomorrow’s midterm elections will not only impact the policy environment in the next Congress, but also could affect legislative activity during the lame duck session when Congress returns, including opportunities to advance Housing Credit provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661). Leadership in both the House and Senate have expressed interest in advancing a tax extenders package in the lame duck session, which may include other tax provisions such as technical corrections and could present an opportunity to advance the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. However, it remains to be seen whether the elections will impact the likelihood of Congress advancing a tax package this year. Advocacy in support of the Housing Credit will be critical after the elections to ensure that provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act rise to the top of the list in any potential tax negotiations. Stay tuned for additional updates on strategy and advocacy opportunities following the elections.

Updated Fact Sheets Show the Housing Credit’s Impact in Each State

The ACTION Campaign’s state fact sheets have been updated with the most recent data to show the Housing Credit’s impact and the affordable housing needs that remain in every state. New to the state fact sheets this year is data demonstrating the impact that a 50 percent increase in the Housing Credit, as proposed in the Cantwell-Hatch Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, would have in each state. Recent estimates from accounting firm Novogradac & Company estimate that a 50 percent expansion would support the production of more than 264,200 additional affordable homes nationally over the next ten years. ACTION urges all stakeholder to share these state fact sheets with your elected officials and ask them to support efforts to advance Housing Credit provisions in the lame duck session, including by co-sponsoring the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661). The ACTION district fact sheets will be updated in the coming weeks.

Senator Heller Introduces Seniors Affordable Housing Tax Credit Legislation

Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced a new Seniors Affordable Housing Tax Credit Act (S. 3580) to incentivize owners of rental properties to rent to low-income seniors at affordable rents. The bill would create a tax credit program that allocates credit to states, with states responsible for awarding the Credits to owners and developers who rent their properties to low-income seniors. Qualified seniors would pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities, with the rental unit’s owner receiving a federal tax credit making up the difference between the tenant’s rent payment and the rent the owner would have otherwise received. Given the limited time left in the session, we do not expect Senator Heller’s bill to advance in this Congress. Senator Heller is an original co-sponsor of both the Cantwell-Hatch Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548), and the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act (S. 3231), bipartisan legislation introduced in July to examine the impact that the national shortage of affordable housing has on all areas of life. ACTION thanks Senator Heller for his commitment to addressing the nation’s shortage of affordable housing. 

Comments on CRA Modernization Due November 19

The ACTION Campaign will be submitting comments responding to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on CRA modernization urging the OCC to continue to support robust investment in the Housing Credit. We will also be circulating talking points to the entire ACTION Campaign and encourage all Housing Credit stakeholders to submit comments in support of the Housing Credit.

Updated Fact Sheets Show the Housing Credit’s Impact in Every State

The ACTION Campaign’s state fact sheets, which show the impact of the Housing Credit and the affordable housing needs that still remain in every state, have been updated with data through 2016, the latest data available.

New to the state fact sheets this year is data demonstrating the impact that a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation authority would have in each state. The Cantwell-Hatch Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548), bipartisan legislation to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit, includes a 50 percent increase in allocation authority. According to recent estimates from accounting firm Novogradac & Company, a 50 percent expansion of the Housing Credit would allow more than 264,200 additional affordable homes to be built nationally over the next ten years.

The data on the state fact sheets come from the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ 2016 Factbook, with economic impact multipliers from the National Association of Home Builders and data on cost-burdened renters from the 2016 American Community Survey. The fact sheets also use data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2016 Out of Reach report, showing how many hours a minimum wage worker has to work in order to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.

Nationwide, the Housing Credit has financed more than 3 million apartments, providing affordable homes to 7.2 million low-income families and supporting 3.5 million jobs. However, more than 11 million households still pay more than half of their income towards rent, and the average minimum wage worker has to work 90 hours per week in order to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, further underscoring the immense need to expand the Housing Credit.

The ACTION Campaign’s district fact sheets will be updated with 2016 data in the coming weeks.

ACTION national fact sheet 2018.PNG

October ACTION Update: Congress to Consider Tax Legislation in Lame Duck Session, More than 40 Percent of the House Signs on to Strengthen the Housing Credit

Chairman Brady Signals Tax Extenders Will be Considered After Midterm Elections

Last week, the House passed a series of bills making permanent the individual and small business tax cuts enacted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and making other changes to the tax code related to business innovation and pensions. Those bills now head to the Senate – where they are not expected to be considered, at least before the November midterm elections. There were no provisions directly related to the Housing Credit or Housing Bonds included in these bills. 

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) has signaled that House tax leaders are speaking with their Senate counterparts about legislation related to tax extenders that Congress could consider after the elections. Though Senate leadership has been signaling interest in taking up tax extenders this year, this is the first time House leadership has shown openness as well. Should tax extenders advance as part of larger tax legislation this fall, which may also include technical provisions and other tax provisions, it may present an opportunity to advance provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661).To position the Housing Credit as strongly as possible going into any potential negotiations in the lame duck session, ACTION encourages all stakeholders to continue conducting outreach to your elected officials to both urge them to sign on if they haven't already, and thank current co-sponsors for their continued support. Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for resources to reach out to your member of Congress.

More than 40 Percent of the House Signs on to Strengthen the Housing Credit

The House version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661) gained 13 additional co-sponsors last month, bringing total co-sponsorship on the bill to 175 members, including 95 Democrats and 80 Republicans. This represents more than 40 percent of the House, a strong and continuously growing display of bipartisan support for the Credit. Recent additions include Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ-8), Rep. David Loesbsack (D-IA-2), Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), Rep. Val Butler Demings (D-FL-10), Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14), Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY-3), Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH-5), Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA-35), Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA-12), and Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ-4).

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has also co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill (S. 548), bringing total co-sponsors on S. 548 to 41 members, including 29 Democrats, 10 Republicans and two Independents. We encourage all ACTION members to thank your members of Congress who co-sponsored H.R. 1661 and S. 548.

New Reports Highlight Housing Credit Development Costs

Last month the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining total development costs in Housing Credit properties. The report is the last in a series of studies GAO has conducted on the Housing Credit program in recent years at the request of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). GAO’s report studied Housing Credit properties across 12 allocating agencies in 10 states between 2011 and 2015 and found wide variation in development costs – resulting largely from the diversity of geographies in the states surveyed. The report also details the comprehensive and consistent efforts of state agencies to ensure reasonable development costs, and makes several recommendations to IRS and Congress regarding cost certification practices, data collection, and treatment of syndication fees.

The GAO report’s findings are generally consistent with a recent independent analysis conducted by Abt Associates. Based on the Abt research and additional data from Dodge Data and Analytics, the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) finds that Housing Credit apartments cost roughly the same to build as market rate apartments, despite the additional federal requirements that Housing Credit developments must meet. Read more about the Abt Associates report on the ACTION blog, and see NCSHA’s side-by-side chart for a full comparison between the GAO report and the Abt study.

ACTION appreciates the new research on the Housing Credit and will continue to work with Congress and the IRS to strengthen and improve the program.

Senator Warren Introduces Legislation to Address Housing Affordability

Last week Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill that aims to address housing affordability and would support the development of up to 3.2 million new residential units. This legislation would invest: $445 billion in the national Housing Trust Fund (NHT); $25 billion in the Capital Magnet Fund; $2 billion in the Indian Housing Block Grant; $523 million in rural housing programs; and $4 billion in a new "Middle-Class Housing Emergency Fund.” It would also provide down-payment grants to first-time homebuyers living in formerly redlined areas, facilitate the use of federal housing vouchers in high-opportunity neighborhoods and expand the scope of financial institutions covered under the Community Reinvestment Act. There are no provisions related to the Housing Credit or Housing Bonds included in the package. The bill would be funded by returning the estate tax to its 2009 level, which Moody’s Analytics found would make the legislation revenue neutral. While the package is unlikely to advance in this Congress, ACTION thanks Senator Warren for her commitment to addressing affordable housing challenges, including her recent co-sponsorship of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548).

New Research Analyzes Total Development Costs in Housing Credit Units Nationwide

Today the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) published a new report, Variation in Development Costs for LIHTC Projects, which analyzes total development costs in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) developments nationwide. The report finds that Housing Credit developments costs, on average, are roughly the same as development costs for all multifamily apartments.

The report, which NCSHA commissioned Abt Associates to complete, studied 2,500 Housing Credit properties containing more than 160,000 units over a multi-year period. Key findings include:

  • Housing Credit-financed apartments on average cost roughly the same to develop as the typical apartment, even as Housing Credit properties must by law meet many requirements that typical apartment buildings do not.
  • Housing Credit development costs have grown no faster than, and likely more slowly than, development costs for apartments overall over the last several years. 
  • The median total development costs per unit between 2011 and 2016, including soft costs – such as fees for contractors, architects, and other professionals – and land costs, was $164,757, adjusted for construction cost inflation. The mean was $182,498.
  • The primary factors that drive the development costs of all apartment projects, including Housing Credit properties – costs of land, labor, and materials – are driven by market forces, not state agency administration.

See NCSHA’s summary of the report for more information.

The Housing Credit is our nation’s most successful tool for building and preserving affordable rental housing and the Abt Associates report is a powerful testament to the Housing Credit’s success. It has financed more than 3 million affordable rental homes over the past 30 years, providing more than 7 million low-income families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities homes they can afford. Virtually no affordable rental housing development would occur without the Housing Credit.

Despite the Housing Credit’s tremendous success, much more affordable housing is still needed to meet the vast and growing demand nationwide. According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, nearly 20 million renter households pay more than 30 percent or more of their incomes for rent, and 11 million pay more than half their income.

The ACTION Campaign urges Congress to enact the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661/S. 548) as a critical solution to address the nationwide shortage of affordable housing. Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for more information about the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and resources to advocate for this critical legislation.