Today Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 548), a comprehensive bill to expand and strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit).
In addition to Senators Cantwell and Hatch, there are eleven other original co-sponsors: Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), as well as Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Todd Young (R-IN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The legislation is very similar to the comprehensive version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 3237), introduced by Senators Cantwell and Hatch in 2016, with minor modifications.
More than 2,000 organizations from all fifty states signed on to an ACTION Campaign letter in strong support of this legislation.
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would increase Housing Credit authority by 50 percent, taking a meaningful step towards addressing our nation’s vast and growing affordable housing needs. “The affordable housing crisis is exploding all across the country. We are facing pressures from all sides: demand for rental housing has increased by 21 percent, but we are building units at the lowest rate since the 1970s,” Senator Cantwell said in a statement. “If we do not act to increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit – our best way to build new affordable homes – by 2025 over 15 million Americans could be spending half their income on rent. This is unacceptable.” Senator Cantwell also released a new report detailing the growing affordable housing crisis and the need to expand the Housing Credit.
The Bipartisan Policy Center also recently reaffirmed its endorsement of a 50 percent expansion, calling the Housing Credit “the nation’s most successful rental production program, with a 30-year track record.”
The 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.
For more information, see the:
- ACTION Campaign’s bill summary
- Bill text
- Summary of modifications between the previous version of the bill (S. 3237) and the new version (S. 548)
- Senator Cantwell’s report, Meeting the Challenges of the Growing Affordable Housing Crisis
- Sample letter to Senators requesting co-sponsorship