Government Lending

Bipartisan lawmaker group introduces new affordable housing bill

The bicameral, bipartisan coalition introduced a bill to help construct nearly two million affordable homes over the next decade

A bipartisan group of legislators from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have introduced a new bill, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA), which could help spur the construction of two million affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

The bill has been introduced in both chambers and seeks to expand the low-income housing tax credit.

If passed, the bill would accomplish these goals through three primary methods: by increasing the number of credits allowed to each state by 50% over the next two years; by increasing the number of affordable housing projects that can be built using private activity bonds; and improving the Housing Credit program to better serve at-risk and underserved communities.

Communities that could qualify as “at-risk” or “underserved” include veterans, domestic violence victims, formerly homeless students, certain Native American communities and rural residents.

The effort is being led by House members Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.). In the House, the bill has more than 60 bipartisan co-sponsors. Taking point on the measure in the Senate is Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

In the House, the bill is designated as H.R. 3238 while the Senate version is S. 1557.

“Affordable housing is vital for families throughout Illinois and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit continues to be an important tool to drive investment in the affordable rental housing market,” said Rep. LaHood in a statement. “This bipartisan bill will modernize the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and help expand our housing supply, strengthening communities and supporting economic development in Illinois and across the county.”

Sen. Cantwell — whose state recently took action on its housing priorities through state-level legislation — added that the core priority is to address housing costs.

“This legislation would increase the federal resources allocated to each state, cut the red tape that hinders financing for workforce housing, better serve people most in need, and ultimately add more than 64,000 affordable units to Washington’s housing stock over the next decade,” she said.

According to a brief by the ACTION Campaign, the AHCIA has been introduced in each of the previous four U.S. Congresses and earned bipartisan support each time. Portions of the bill have been enacted over the years, but it has not made it into law in a comprehensive fashion.

Both the Senate and House versions were introduced into their respective chambers on May 11.

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