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Senators Cantwell and Hatch Introduce Housing Credit Cap Increase Legislation

Published on May 20, 2016 by Jennifer Schwartz
Senators Cantwell and Hatch Introduce Housing Credit Cap Increase Legislation

On May 19, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S. 2962, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016, which would enact several of NCSHA’s Housing Credit-related legislative priorities. The bill would address the severe shortage of affordable rental housing by increasing Housing Credit authority by 50 percent over five years beginning in 2017 and providing states additional flexibility in their program administration. The legislation also increases the small state minimum by 50 percent, also over five years. Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) joined Senators Cantwell and Hatch as original cosponsors.

In addition to the cap increase, the legislation would set a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate for both acquisition Credits and for Housing Bond-financed Credit properties, allowing states to provide more Credit equity to these developments if necessary to achieve their financial feasibility. It would also provide an income-averaging option under which the Housing Credit could finance units for households earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI), so long as the average income limit within the property is 60 percent of AMI or less. This would expand the market for Housing Credit units and enable the Housing Credit to reach even lower income families by allowing developers to offset lower rents paid by very low- and extremely low-income households with higher rents paid by eligible households earning more.

NCSHA and other members of the ACTION Campaign, the national Housing Credit Coalition which NCSHA co-chairs, have been working with Senator Cantwell’s office for several months to develop the legislation. Senator Cantwell intends to introduce soon a second Housing Credit bill that will make additional improvements to the Credit program, many of which NCSHA and the Campaign have proposed. Her staff is working on the details of that legislation.

Now that the bill has been introduced, please contact your senators and encourage them to become cosponsors. NCSHA will be working with Senator Cantwell’s office to develop a section-by-section description of the bill and will be creating other materials to help you make your case. As soon as those documents are available we will post them on NCSHA’s website.

Contact NCSHA’s Jennifer Schwartz for more information.