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.