Former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez, co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Senior Health and Housing Task Force, are calling for a substantial expansion of the Housing Credit to address the housing needs of our nation’s growing senior population. In an op-ed in Affordable Housing Finance, the former secretaries applaud Senators Maria Cantwell (D - WA) and Orrin Hatch (R – UT) for introducing legislation to increase Housing Credit resources by 50 percent, calling the credit “a critical source of financing for rental homes affordable to the nation’s lowest-income seniors.” The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 2962), introduced in May, would expand the annual Housing Credit allocation by 50 percent, phased in over five years, and enact other changes to make the program more streamlined and flexible.
A letter from Seattle Mayor Edward Murray and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, signed by an additional 20 mayors from across the country and from both parties, also calls on Congress to expand the Housing Credit by 50 percent, and urges swift passage of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. The letter follows a resolution passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in support of the Cantwell-Hatch bill, which specifically highlights the need for a permanent minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate and the need to allow income averaging in Housing Credit properties as well as an expansion of the credit.
In addition, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and former U.S. Representative Rick Lazio wrote an op-ed in Housing Wire last week calling for “far greater investment” in the Housing Credit. See our Advocacy Toolkit for more resources to promote the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, including a bill summary, talking points and a new sample letter to senators.