Federal Policy Priorities

Federal Housing Advocacy Issues

Georgia ACT board, staff and members visiting the Capitol while in Washington D.C. for the 2017 People and Places Conference.

Senators Propose Two Bold Renters’ Tax Credits Bills

Summary

(Courtesy of the Low Income Housing Coalition, 2018 August 13)

Senators Propose Two Bold Renters’ Tax Credits Bills Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) separately introduced bold proposals to create fully refundable tax credits for cost-burdened renters, households spending more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities. Both bills directly address the widening gap between incomes and housing cost and would go a long way toward alleviating the housing crisis for people with the lowest incomes. For more information about the proposals, see NLIHC’s factsheet, “Bold Proposals for Renters’ Tax Credits.” The “Rent Relief Act” (S. 3250) introduced by Senator Harris would provide renters with a refundable tax credit covering a portion of the difference between what they can afford – 30% of their income – and their rent and utilities capped at 150% of fair market rent. The value of the credit would be based on the taxpayer’s income.

The credit would cover: 100% of cost burden for households earning less than $25,000; 75% of cost burden for households earning between $25,000 and $50,000; 50% of cost burden for households earning between $50,000 and $75,000; and 25% of cost burden for households with income between $75,000 and $100,000. Residents in federally assisted housing would also receive a tax credit valued at the amount paid for rent for one month. The “Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act” (S.3342) introduced by Senator Booker would provide a refundable tax credit for renters whose income is at or less than 80% of area median. The tax credit would cover the difference between what the household can afford – 30% of their income – and their rent and utilities capped at 100% of fair market rent. Senator Booker’s bill would also require local governments and the private sector to build more housing affordable to the middle class. Under the proposal, local governments receiving Community Development Block Grant funds would be required to address regulatory and zoning barriers that drive up housing costs and restrict the ability of the private sector to build more rental homes for the middle class. NLIHC’s factsheet comparing the two proposals is at: https://bit.ly/2npi5K2 NLIHC’s press release about Senator Booker’s bill is at: https://bit.ly/2KmEP6r Senator Harris’ press release, featuring a quote from NLIHC president and CEO Diane Yentel, is at: https://bit.ly/2O4FXyx

The Issue

Both bills directly address the widening gap between incomes and housing cost and would go a long way toward alleviating the housing crisis for people with the lowest incomes.

Our Stance

Georgia ACT, along with our state and national partners, advocate that the current Administration consider and pass either Bill to support low- and middle-income renters.

HOME Investment Partnership Program

Summary

The National Home Coalition notes that: “Despite the modest increase that Congress provided HOME in FY 2016, the program has been cut in half in recent years, from more than $1.8 billion in FY 2010 to $950 million last year. This reduction comes at a time when recent studies have found that almost half of renter households are cost-burdened and more than a quarter spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent. At the same time, due to funding limitations, only one in four low-income families eligible for housing assistance actually receive assistance. As a result, these cuts have only made it more difficult for America’s most vulnerable residents – including low-income seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, families with children, and those experiencing homelessness – to access safe, decent and affordable housing.”

The Issue

However, today the program is under attack from those in Congress who want to reduce funding to levels that make the program financially unfeasible.

Our Stance

Georgia ACT along with housing advocates from across the country would like Congres to support the proven outcomes of the HOME program by providing a FY 2017 appropriation of at least $1.2 billion. For more information, visit: https://www.ncsha.org/homecoalition.

National Housing Trust Fund

Summary

The National Housing Trust Fund was created in 2008 to provide targeted assistance to those most at risk for becoming homeless. Because the program is funded with surplus revenues from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac it has remained largely unfunded and unused during the recent recession.

The Issue

Now that the economy has recovered, the trust fund is finally seeing needed resources, but some in Congress want to divert that funding elsewhere.

Our Stance

Georgia ACT, along with our state and national partners, strongly oppose this move by Congress. To learn more, visit: http://nlihc.org/issues/nhtf

Low Income Housing Tax Credit

Summary

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program provides tax incentives to developers who reserve a portion of residential units for affordable housing.

The Issue

The program is administered under different terms and conditions in each state.

Our Stance

To demonstrate the critical need for an expansion of the LIHTC, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wa) is asking for stories from anyone who has ever dealt with homelessness or struggled to find affordable housing. The campaign to expand the Housing Credit includes changes in order to strengthen the program and would increase the allocation authority by 50%. To support this campaign and share your story, click here. To learn more about LIHTC: visit http://www.nlihc.org/