Press Releases

DelBene Leads Call to House Leadership to Expand Affordable Housing During COVID-19 Crisis

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Washington, D.C., April 16, 2020 | comments

Today, Congresswoman DelBene sent a letter to House leadership urging them to address the growing affordable housing crisis by expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) in the next COVID-19 response package.

The lack of affordable housing is an ongoing crisis in every state, in both rural areas and major cities alike. 11 million households in America already paid more than half of their income in rent before this outbreak, and the COVID-19 pandemic is only exacerbating this crisis. In addition to leaving millions of people out of work, the pandemic is disrupting our ability to operate, build, and preserve affordable housing during a time when affordable housing production is crucial.

The letter specifically calls on Congress to enact a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate in the next COVID-19 response package and lower the bond financing requirement from 50 percent. This would provide greater and much needed market flexibility during these uncertain times and increase the feasibility of constructing and maintaining affordable housing developments. It was signed by DelBene and the three original co-sponsors of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 3077), Reps. Don Beyer (VA-08), Kenny Marchant (TX-24), and Jackie Walorski (IN-02).

“There is precedent for such action as Congress responded immediately during the 2008 financial crisis by enacting a minimum 9 percent Housing Credit rate in recognition of the critical role of affordable housing in the recovery,” the lawmakers say in the letter. “We hear new examples every day of affordable housing developments now coming to a halt due to lack of financing, which is especially concerning given the necessity of affordable housing supply in the recovery from this pandemic.”

Additionally, last week, DelBene and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (MA-01) sent a letter to Secretary Mnuchin requesting the Treasury extend deadlines in the Housing Credit program.

DelBene is the original lead sponsor of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 3077), that will strengthen and expand the Housing Credit. The bill is now sponsored by a bipartisan majority of the House.

Read the full letter DelBene sent to House leadership here.

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