More than 50 members of Congress are calling on House leadership to include an expansion of the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) in year-end legislation.
The representatives urged action in a Nov. 28 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), citing a decline in affordable housing production at a time when rents have increased nearly 12% over the past year.
Led by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Calif.) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), the elected officials are calling on the House leaders to include key provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) in upcoming legislation. They specifically cited:
· Restoring a cut to the LIHTC by extending the 12.5% housing credit allocation increase that expired at the end of 2021. These resources can be deployed immediately allowing ready-to-go developments to move forward; and
· Lowering the “50% test” to 25% to increase LIHTC access. This would allow all states to more efficiently use their private-activity bond cap and unlock resources for states to complete hundreds of thousands of additional shovel-ready developments.
The provisions outlined in the letter would build or preserve more than 1.5 million additional affordable homes, according to housing leaders.
“We cannot ignore this crucial area of our economy and the working families, veterans, seniors, and low-income families who will be able to afford their homes during this time and in the years ahead because of the housing credit,” reads the letter. “The housing credit is a proven tool, having financed over 3.6 million homes over the program’s 35-plus-year history. The AHCIA proposals have broad bipartisan support with more than one-third of Congress cosponsoring the bill. We respectfully ask our congressional leaders to enact these vital provisions by year-end. We appreciate your immediate consideration of these priority items.”
Emily Cadik, CEO of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition,and other industry leaders praised the move.
“We applaud Reps. DelBene and Wenstrup for recognizing the immediate and urgent need to take action to address our affordable housing crisis, and for galvanizing bipartisan support around these critical proposals to expand and strengthen the housing credit,” she said.. “These measures will allow us to immediately ramp up affordable housing production and tackle one of the primary drivers of inflation at a time when rents are skyrocketing.”
Jennifer Schwartz, co-chair of the ACTION Campaign and director of tax and housing advocacy at the National Council of State Housing Agencies, also voiced her support.
“Our nation simply needs more affordable rental housing to meet the demand, and the best way to finance it is through the proven and bipartisan housing credit,” she said. “On behalf of the nation’s state housing credit agencies and the more than 2,400 businesses and organizations from across the nation that are members of the ACTION Campaign, I am deeply grateful for their leadership and commitment to expanding the housing credit this year.”