Yesterday, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 548), a comprehensive bill that would strengthen and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). This legislation is very similar to the version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 3237) introduced by the same Senators last year, but with minor modifications.
Earlier this week, Senator Cantwell released a new report that chronicles the nationwide shortage of affordable housing. In her press release, Senator Cantwell said, “[w]e are facing pressures from all sides: demand for rental housing has increased by 21 percent, but we are building units at the lowest rate since the 1970s. If we do not act to increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit-our best way to build new affordable homes-by 2025 over 15 million Americans could be spending half of their income on rent. This is unacceptable.”
S. 548 seeks to take steps towards addressing the affordable housing deficit by increasing the overall Housing Credit authority by 50 percent. The legislation also includes other provisions that would streamline and modernize the Housing Credit, increase financial feasibility for projects, and encourage development in underserved areas. The legislation would also support the development of rental units that use the Housing Credit in conjunction with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide important financing to about 40 percent of all Housing Credit apartments.
S. 548 has bipartisan support on the Hill and there are currently eleven other original co-sponsors to the bill: Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Todd Young (R-IN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). Also recently, over 2,000 organizations across the country, including NAHRO, signed on to the ACTION Campaign’s letter to Congress in support of S. 548.
More information on the bill by the ACTION Campaign can found here: