A bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives now support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA), H.R. 3077, a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01). The AHCIA strengthens and expands the Housing Credit, our nation’s most effective and successful tool for building and preserving affordable housing. In total, 221 members of Congress are now cosponsors of the bill.
The Housing Credit has financed 3.2 million affordable homes and served 7.4 million low-income households since it was created in 1986. By strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit, the AHCIA would provide for more than half a million additional affordable homes nationwide over the next 10 years.
“The overwhelming support for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act shows that members of Congress across the country see the housing crisis we face. My bill would help create approximately 550,000 new affordable housing units nationwide in the next decade. Now that a majority in the House is on record in support of this legislation, it is time to pass it,” said DelBene. “The housing crisis gets worse every year, and this is an important step to helping people find an affordable place to call home. States like Washington cannot wait any longer.”
The bill increases the total number of affordable housing units built by:
- Increasing the amount of credits allocated to each state by 50% over current levels, resulting in the production of more than 384,000 more affordable homes in the next 10 years than would otherwise be created.
- Stabilizing the value of the 4% Housing Credit, which is used for new construction that uses additional subsidies or the acquisition cost of existing buildings. This will create more certainty for ongoing and new projects and increase affordable housing production by more than 66,000 units.
- Expanding and reforming “recycling” of multifamily housing bonds, allowing states to maximize the available resources of private activity bonds by recycling multifamily bonds for affordable housing, resulting in 100,000 additional affordable housing units.
In addition to expanding the number of affordable homes built in the United States, the legislation makes reforms to strengthen the Housing Credit. These reforms will:
- Create veteran-specific housing options. The legislation stipulates that the Housing Credit can be used to support housing for veterans.
- Better target extremely low-income populations. The legislations increases, by 50%, the amount of credits available to developments serving extremely low-income populations or those with special needs, such as formerly homeless veterans.
- Boost affordable housing in Indian Country. The legislation classifies projects in Indian Country as Difficult to Develop Area, increasing the amount of credits available to affordable housing projects in these areas. The legislation also requires states to consider the needs of their Native American communities by establishing new selection criteria for projects.
- Boost affordable housing to rural communities. The legislation gives states the ability to increase the amount of credits available to projects in rural areas.
- Protect victims of domestic violence and stalking. The legislation will bring all properties built using the Housing Credit in line with Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) standards to better protect victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
- Opens affordable housing properties to more low-income students. The legislation simplifies current rules to ensure non-traditional students, such as single parents, veterans, formerly homeless youth, and domestic violence survivors, have access to affordable housing properties. Previously the rule was overly complex and differed from other HUD-finance housing rules.
The AHCIA was introduced in the House by Reps. DelBene, Don Beyer (VA-08), Kenny Marchant (TX-24), and Jackie Walorski (IN-02). This Congress, the AHCIA rapidly garnered bipartisan support reflecting a consensus that communities nationwide need more affordable housing. The AHCIA is the most bipartisan bill to build more affordable housing this Congress.
Read the full text of the bill here