Press Releases

DelBene, Wenstrup Lead Bipartisan Affordable Housing Expansion Push in Year-End Legislation

Proposal would build or preserve more than 1.5 million new affordable homes across the country over the next decade to address the affordable housing crisis

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) led 54 members of Congress urging House leadership to address the nation’s growing affordable housing shortage. In a letter, the lawmakers requested provisions that would strengthen and expand the Housing Credit be included in a potential year-end legislative package to increase affordable housing production and lower costs for American families.

The Housing Credit is our nation’s most effective and successful tool for building and preserving affordable housing. Since its creation in 1986, the program has financed more than 3.6 million affordable housing units —nearly 90 percent of all federally-funded affordable housing during that time.

The letter calls on House Leadership to include two provisions from the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that would increase affordable housing production:

  • Extend the 12.5 percent Housing Credit allocation that expired at the end of 2021. These resources can be deployed immediately allowing ready-to-go developments to move forward.  
  • Lower the “50 percent test” to 25 percent to increase Housing Credit access. This would allow all states to more efficiently use their Private Activity Bond cap and unlock resources for states to complete hundreds of thousands of additional shovel-ready developments.

The provisions outlined in the letter would build or preserve more than 1.5 million additional affordable homes.

“We cannot ignore this crucial area of our economy, and the working families, veterans, seniors, and low-income families who will be able to afford their homes during this time and in the years ahead because of the Housing Credit,” the lawmakers wrote. “By enacting these provisions, we can have a huge, positive impact on affordable housing production.”

The letter was signed by Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Don Bacon (NE-02), Troy Balderson (OH-12), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At-Large), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Mike Carey (OH-15), Judy Chu (CA-27), Danny Davis (IL-07), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Ron Estes (KS-04), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Lance Gooden (TX-05), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Dusty Johnson (SD-At-Large), David Joyce (OH-14), Mike Kelly (PA-16), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Young Kim (CA-39), Darin LaHood (IL-18), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), John Larson (CT-01), Jake LaTurner (KS-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Susie Lee (NV-03), Carol Miller (WV-03), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jay Obernolte (CA-08), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Scott Peters (CA-52), John Rose (TN-06), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Terri Sewell (IL-07), Greg Stanton (AZ-09), Tom Suozzi (NY-03), William Timmons (SC-04), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), David Valadao (CA-21), Tim Walberg (MI-07), and Brad Wenstrup (OH-02).

It has the broad support of the affordable housing community.

“We applaud Representatives DelBene and Wenstrup for recognizing the immediate and urgent need to take action to address our affordable housing crisis, and for galvanizing bipartisan support around these critical proposals to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit,” said Emily Cadik, CEO of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition. “These measures will allow us to immediately ramp up affordable housing production and tackle one of the primary drivers of inflation at a time when rents are skyrocketing.”

“Representatives DelBene, Wenstrup, and all the members of the House of Representatives who signed this letter understand how the scarcity of affordable rental housing is harming their constituents, who recently have seen rents increase at an unprecedented rate, leaving them unable to afford basic necessities and putting them at risk of homelessness,” said Jennifer Schwartz, ACTION Campaign co-chair and director of tax and housing advocacy with the National Council of State Housing Agencies. “Our nation simply needs more affordable rental housing to meet the demand, and the best way to finance it is through the proven and bipartisan Housing Credit. On behalf of the nation’s state Housing Credit agencies and the more than 2,400 businesses and organizations from across the nation that are members of the ACTION Campaign, I am deeply grateful for their leadership and commitment to expanding the Housing Credit this year.”

“We appreciate Representatives DelBene and Wenstrup’s leadership on the Housing Credit and the outstanding support from a bipartisan and distinguished group of House Members, who have come together to push for critical resources to address the shortage of decent, affordable rental homes in year-end tax legislation. From urban neighborhoods and suburban areas to rural and Native communities, these commonsense Housing Credit proposals would help hundreds of thousands of working families, seniors, veterans, and other Americans who increasingly find themselves forced to make difficult decisions between buying food, paying bills, and making rent,” said Scott Hoekman, President of Housing Credit Investments at Enterprise Community Partners and co-chair of the ACTION Campaign. “Over the last 40 years, Enterprise has built or preserved over 873,000 affordable homes and we understand the critical role of the Housing Credit and its success as a model public-private partnership. We applaud these Members of Congress for their commitment to advancing the Housing Credit, our nation’s number one tool for producing affordable housing.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.