Bipartisan Group in Congress Introduces Low-Income Housing Bill to Boost Tax Credit for Developers

by Julia Sanders

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan group from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives has introduced legislation that would expand and strengthen the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) of 2021 was introduced by senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rob Portman (R-OH); and representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Don Beyer (D-VA) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH). First introduced in 2016, the most recent version of the AHCIA earned the bipartisan support of more than one-third of the 116th Congress.

The 2021 bill would accelerate the proposed housing credit allocation increase and proposes a new flexibility to allow housing credit developments to maximize private activity bond financing. The legislation would also provide states with additional flexibilities, streamline program rules and make the housing credit more effective in rural and Native American communities. The bill would also help states use the housing credit to benefit their lowest-income residents, such as homeless veterans.

“More than 10 million households nationwide were paying more than half of their monthly income on rent prior to the COVID-19 crisis, and millions more are now struggling to keep a roof over their heads,” says Matt Josephs, president of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition’s board of directors and senior vice president of the Local Initiatives Support Corp. in charge of policy. “The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act will help address our nation’s severe affordable housing shortage at a time when bold investments in affordable housing are sorely needed.”

As far as the next steps for the AHCIA of 2021, Emily Cadik, executive director at AHTCC, says the bill will likely move forward through the Congressional approval process as part of a larger legislative package.

“In the past, provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act have advanced in year-end tax legislation (in 2020) and in an omnibus spending bill (in 2018). This year, with infrastructure legislation beginning to take shape, our goal is to include provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act as part of any infrastructure legislation. We have already seen the Biden Administration, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden express support for expanding and strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit as part of infrastructure legislation, and there is also precedent from the dozen or so Housing Credit provisions included in last year’s House-passed Moving Forward Act,” says Cadik.

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