The recent article written by Donna Kimura regarding comments made by Terri Ludwig, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., at the AHF Live conference in Chicago ("LIHTC in Jeopardy" November 28, 2012) was accurate in its description of the circumstances we find ourselves in today. The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC) has been working diligently with Congress and staff in an effort to sustain and enhance the low-income housing tax credit.
Numerous organizations are actively involved in the advocacy of the LIHTC. We, along with Enterprise Community Partners’ Peter Lawrence (Disclosure, Peter Lawrence is a member of the AHTCC board of directors), have been actively educating and providing data to members and staff through A.C.T.I. O.N. (A Call to Invest in Our Neighborhoods). This data details the efficiency of the LIHTC and how it is the embodiment of federal housing policy implemented through state housing agencies with private-sector capital. A.C.T.I.O.N. members include a variety of alphabetic acronym organizations such as our AHTCC, NCSHA, HAG, NAHB, AHIC, IREM, as well as numerous industry participants such as law firms, accounting firms, developers, and legislative consultants. Organizations interested in contributing to this critical work should join the A.C.T.I.O.N. campaign through its website, rentalhousingaction.org, and AHTCC through our website at taxcreditcoalition.org. During the current 112th Congress, AHTCC members and consultants have spent countless hours on Capitol Hill advocating for the LIHTC.
The "call to arms" metaphor is really a call to service. At AHTCC we believe it to be a call to educate, a call to gain supporters on the Hill, and a call to advocate. This is not warfare. It is policy. It is an opportunity. AHTCC has been at the forefront of the tax policy discussion.
Ms. Ludwig presents all of us with an opportunity to encourage members in Washington, D.C., and in their home districts to visit properties. It is an opportunity to provide understanding of the success of federal housing policy when private enterprise carries out what Congress created in 1986. It is an opportunity to imbed in the business culture of each industry participant the willingness to meet with members and staff to describe in real terms their role in carrying out the policy of Congress.
A program such as the LIHTC that is successful is respected. Our strategy for affordable housing through the LIHTC is rational, well organized, and data driven. Emotive nuance is useful to a degree; however, analysis with logical conclusions based on facts will provide members with the information they need to continue the policy created over 26 years ago.
AHTCC has been working, is working, and will continue to work on behalf of all organizations for the continuation of the LIHTC and to enhance its benefits to those in need of affordable housing in the United States.
Jeffrey A. Whiting is president of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, which is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association whose mission is the advocacy of the LIHTC. He also is the president and CEO of City Real Estate Advisors, Inc., an Indianapolis-based company that syndicates LIHTCs.