In a seemingly unprecedented move, a huge coalition featuring thousands of organizations, state and local governments, and elected officials joined together to call on Congress to use the savings derived from any changes to the mortgage interest deduction via the new tax reform bill to fund low-income housing.
H.R. 1, which passed through the Ways and Means Committee last week, and will soon move to a full House vote, would slash the mortgage interest deduction in half from $1 million to $500,000.
While the National Association of Realtors is writing Congress to fight against this decrease in the MID, other organizations are taking a different approach.
Approximately 2,500 signers sent a letter to Congress, addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, urging them to direct savings from the MID cut to rental housing programs that serve the lowest income families such as the national Housing Trust Fund or a renter’s tax credit.
To give a better idea of just how many individuals and organizations are behind this plan, the letter itself is a one-page document, and is followed by 61 pages of signatures.
The letter was penned by the United for Homes campaign by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
“Our nation is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis,” the letter states. “Growing demand for rental housing has resulted in higher rents. More families than ever before struggle to pay their rent each month, and every Congressional district and state across the nation is impacted.”
“Yet, despite the need, federal investments that reduce homelessness and housing poverty are sorely underfunded: Just one in four low income families eligible for federal housing assistance receives the help they need,” it continues.
The letter explains that comprehensive tax reform is one of the nation’s best opportunities to end homelessness and housing poverty once and for all.
“As Congress considers comprehensive tax reform legislation, we urge you to seize this opportunity by reinvesting any savings derived from changes to the mortgage interest deduction into rental housing solutions for people with the greatest needs – not to offset the cost of tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations,” the letter states. “And each dollar invested in developing and preserving affordable homes boosts local economies by leveraging public and private resources to generate income—including resident earnings and additional local tax revenue—and supports job creation and retention.”
To read the full letter, and see the 2,500 organizations, governments and elected officials that signed it, click here.