May 19, 2016

Garth Rieman, Director of Housing
Advocacy and Strategic Initiatives

DATE: May 19, 2016


The National Council of State Housing Agencies Commends
Senators Cantwell and Hatch for Introducing
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), on behalf of its state Housing Finance Agency (HFA) members, commends Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for introducing today the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016 to expand and strengthen the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). We also applaud Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) for joining Cantwell and Hatch as original cosponsors. The legislation increases Housing Credit authority by 50 percent over five years beginning in 2017 and provides states additional flexibility in their program administration.

“This legislation will greatly extend the reach of this enormously successful program, helping states and our partners to make much more headway in our efforts to provide affordable rental housing to those who so urgently need it all across the country,” said Thomas Gleason, executive director of MassHousing and president of NCSHA. “We are deeply grateful to Senators Cantwell and Hatch for their leadership and to their fellow Finance Committee members for their support,” added Gleason.

In addition to the cap increase, the legislation includes several other NCSHA legislative priorities. Specifically, it sets 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 also provides 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.

"The Housing Credit is the most important and effective rental housing production tool states have, but the authority available to it is not nearly enough to respond to rapidly escalating affordable rental housing need and increasing demands on the program," said Barbara Thompson, executive director of NCSHA.

The Housing Credit is essential to addressing our nation’s housing affordability crisis. It is the principal source of financing for the development and preservation of rental housing affordable to low-income people, creating opportunities for families and individuals who otherwise pay an excessive portion of their income for housing, live in substandard and overcrowded conditions, or face homelessness. By providing an incentive for private sector investment, the Housing Credit has financed nearly 3 million apartments since Congress created it 30 years ago.

For more information about NCSHA and our legislative priorities visit


State Housing Finance Agencies—known as HFAs—share a public purpose mission to provide affordable housing help to the people of their jurisdictions who need it. HFAs administer the Housing Credit in nearly every state.

The National Council of State Housing Agencies—known as NCSHA—is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan association that advocates on behalf of HFAs before Congress and the Administration for affordable housing resources. It represents the HFAs of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.