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August is the Time for Housing Credit Advocacy—

Check Out ACTION’s New In-District Advocacy Guide!

It’s August Recess in Washington, D.C., which means that Congress is at home. This is typically the longest time Members spend in their districts and states during the year, providing local advocates with the perfect opportunity to show them the Housing Credit in action. With that in mind, we recently published an in-district advocacy guide to help affordable housing advocates secure support for the Housing Credit and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA, H.R. 3238 / S. 1557).

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but we know that getting Members of Congress to see a Housing Credit property first-hand is priceless. Not only can it help us build new support for the AHCIA, but it can also help remind existing cosponsors why it’s imperative that Congress enact legislation to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit when they return to D.C. in September. The in-district advocacy guide has tips on how to get your legislator out to visit a project, including a draft invitation letter and talking points.

While it would be great to get every Member out to see a project, we know that time commitment and logistics are not always feasible. That’s why we’ve also included ideas on how you can help build support if you have just an hour or two, or even if you have only a few minutes. We’ve drafted posts you can share on social media and compiled best practices on writing an op-ed or letter to the editor. Developing and maintaining relationships with your Members of Congress is a critical foundation for successful advocacy, which is more important than ever.

Right now, affordable housing is experiencing a serious crisis. Every community across the country is facing a shortage of available affordable housing. Inflation and the costs of labor, materials, and insurance are increasingly creating a challenging environment for housing production and preservation. Simultaneously, the spending caps put in place during this summer’s debt deal threaten federal funding, which is often used as gap filler for Housing Credit-financed developments, including key funding sources like the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

When Congress returns in September, they will need to address spending legislation, which is needed to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2024, which starts October 1, along with other must-pass bills. Tax legislation—which could hitch a ride on any moving vehicle—is still very much a possibility, so we must continue to build support for the AHCIA to ensure it is well-positioned for any opportunity.

We hope this advocacy guide will inspire you to take advantage of this time to engage your Members of Congress. Your actions will increase the strength of our collective voice for the Housing Credit and help us as we work to push the AHCIA forward. Don’t forget, ACTION is here to help!

Max Brossy

Max Brossy is a tax policy analyst at Enterprise Community Partners. The ACTION Campaign is co-chaired by Enterprise and the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

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