While many affordable housing developers have had their eyes and hopes set on the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA), a number of other wide-ranging housing bills have been introduced in recent months.
The latest proposals seek investing more than $100 billion in affordable housing, expanding reporting requirements for Opportunity Zones (OZs), and reducing evictions.
The AHCIA (S. 1703 and H.R. 3077) seeks to increase the low-income housing credit (LIHTC) allocation by 50% over current levels, phased in over five years. It would also enact a minimum 4% credit, which almost made it into the year-end tax deal that Congress and the White House reached in mid-December.
The 4% credit fix narrowly missed being included in a tax package agreed to be House and Senate negotiators in December.
Here’s a look at other recently introduced legislation:
Housing is Infrastructure Act
Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Maxine Waters introduced the Housing is Infrastructure Act (S. 2951 and H.R. 5187), which calls for investing more than $100 billion in the construction of new affordable housing and maintenance of existing subsidized housing.
“Too many Americans are fighting tooth and nail to keep a roof over their heads as our nation continues to face a housing affordability and homelessness crisis,” said Harris in a statement. “It will take a comprehensive and serious investment to confront this issue head on, and the Housing is Infrastructure Act is our best chance to get it done. I am proud to work with chairwoman Waters on this bill, which would empower our local communities to make affordable housing available for all. Housing is a human right, and we must act now to tackle the affordable housing crisis and ensure everyone has a safe and accessible home.”
The bill by the California Democrats would make the following investments:
· $70 billion to the Public Housing Capital Fund, which would aid in building, modernizing, and rehabbing public housing;
· $6 billion for building housing for elderly households, people with disabilities, and Native Americans living on tribal lands;
· $5 billion to the National Housing Trust Fund for the construction of new housing units for very low-income households;
· $1 billion to the Rural Multi-Family Preservation and Revitalization program to address the backlog of capital needs for Section 515 and 514 stock;
· $10 billion to expand Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs);
· $2.5 billion for the Capital Magnet Fund; and
· $5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships program.
The Housing is Infrastructure Act follows the Ending Homelessness Act, legislation introduced by Harris and Waters in early 2019 to invest over $13 billion in mandatory emergency relief funding to critical federal housing programs, including construction of new affordable housing units, to address the shortage of affordable housing and combat homelessness.
Homes for All Act
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced the Homes for All Act, which would authorize construction of 12 million new public housing and private permanent affordable housing rental units.
Omar’s legislation would repeal the Faircloth Amendment, allowing the government to begin reinvesting in new public housing for the first time since 1990s. H.R. 5244 also would make a historic investment of $800 billion over the course of 10 years with the goal of building 8.5 million new units of public housing. It also would invest $200 billion in the National Housing Trust Fund to help local communities build 3.5 million affordable housing units for low- and extremely low-income families.
“Every American deserves access to a safe and stable place to live, but unfortunately, our current free-market housing system is not meeting the needs of working families,” Omar said. “We need to treat the affordable housing shortage like the crisis that it is. Housing is a fundamental human right. It’s time we as a nation acted like it and end the housing crisis once and for all.”
Housing for Homeless Students Act of 2019
Reps. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) are seeking to allow certain units that provide housing for homeless children, youth, or veterans who are full-time students to qualify for LIHTC housing. To be eligible, the full-time students must have been a homeless child or youth during any portion of the seven-year period prior to occupying the housing unit or a homeless veteran during any portion of the five-year period prior to occupying the unit.
H.R 4865 was introduced at the end of October. A related Senate bill (S.767) was introduced earlier in the year.
Green New Deal for Public Housing Act
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have teamed to introduce the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which calls for investing up to $180 billion over 10 years in sustainable retrofits for public housing. The legislation (S. 2876 and H.R. 5185) also provides funding to electrify all buildings, add solar panels, and secure renewable energy sources for all public housing energy needs.
The ambitious proposal seeks to transition the entire public housing stock into zero-carbon, highly energy-efficient developments that product renewable energy, and expand family self-sufficiency programs. And, the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would repeal the Faircloth Amendment, which limits the construction of new public housing developments.
A bill to expand reported requirements to determine the impact of the more than 8,700 OZs across the country was introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
The Improving and Reinstating the Monitoring, Prevention, Accountability, Certification, and Transparency Provisions of Opportunity Zones, or IMPACT, Act codifies requirements for Qualified Opportunity Funds to report information on the value of total assets held by the fund, the location, the value of OZ property held by the fund, whether the property is owned or leased, and the disposed investments during the tax year, among other details. The legislation also seeks reporting on the number of persons employed through OZ investments, thereby providing data on job creation and firm growth without burdening small businesses and funds alike.
In addition, the bill codifies requirements for investors to report critical information on OZ investments, including funds receiving investments, relevant dates on which investments and dispositions are made, descriptions of OZ investments, and measures that will continue to allow IRS to track both the deferral and recognition of gains, the trajectory of OZ investments over time, and compliance more broadly.
It also adds penalties for both individuals and funds that fail to accurately and appropriately file the required returns or statements and also significantly enhances penalties for any individual who attempts to take advantage of the OZ incentive for fraudulent purposes, according to Scott.
Repeal of OZs Sought
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) seeks to repeal OZs from the tax code with her new bill, H.R. 5252. She has also asked for an investigation into the designation of OZs.
“The American people have been scammed by OZs,” said Tlaib in a statement. “OZs were supposed to help uplift low-income communities and those living in poverty, but instead we are seeing them benefit billionaires and their luxury projects. Our communities deserve resources and programs with proven track records to thrive—the current OZ law fails to drive real benefits to low-income communities, instead often rewarding President Trump’s donors. We must repeal them to stop yet another form of corporate greed from hurting our communities and tarnishing our democracy.”
Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act of 2019
Led by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), several House members introduced H.R. 4984 to bar jurisdictions from using a high housing cost adjustment to calculate area median income for LIHTC properties unless the jurisdiction petitions the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for approval.
Eviction Crisis Act
In December, Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced a bill to reduce preventable evictions. They seek to create a program to fund state and local governments expanding the use of landlord-tenant community courts and increase social service representatives for tenants, which help tenants and landlords avoid the high cost of eviction. S. 3030 would establish an emergency assistance fund to provide financial assistance and service to eviction-vulnerable tenants.
In addition, the senators want to create a national database of evictions to streamline and standardize the reporting of eviction data. The database would be housed at HUD.