Federal Policy Priorities

Federal Housing Advocacy Issues

Federal Legislation Supported by NLIHC and Georgia ACT 

Rev. 8/13/19

Please urge your Senators and Representatives to cosponsor the following bills:

Investments in Affordable Rental Homes

  • American Housing and Economic Mobility Act (787, H.R. 1737) – Senator Warren (D-MA), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Markey (D-MA), along with Reps. Richmond (D-LA), Cummings (D-MD), Lee (D-CA), and Moore (D-WI). If enacted, this ambitious proposal would help end housing poverty and homelessness in America by directly addressing the underlying cause of the affordable housing crisis – the severe shortage of affordable rental homes for people with the lowest incomes – through a robust investment of nearly $45 billion annually in the national Housing Trust Fund. The bill also includes resources to repair public housing, build or rehabilitate housing in tribal and Native Hawaiian communities, and create and preserve affordable homes in rural areas. For more information, see NLIHC’s factsheet on the AHEM Act.
  • Ending Homelessness Act (R. 1856) – Rep. Waters (D-CA). The bill proposes to invest more than $13 billion over five years, including $1 billion annually for the national Housing Trust Fund, to address the shortage of affordable housing and to combat homelessness. The bill passed out of committee
  • Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act (1772, H.R. 3211) – Senators Young (R-IN), Cantwell (D-WA), and King (I-ME), along with Reps. Peters (D-CA), Khanna (D-CA), and Herrera Beutler (R-WA). The bill would establish a bipartisan task force to evaluate and create recommendations on the affordable housing crisis.
  • Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act (1703, H.R. 3077) – Senator Cantwell (D-WA), Wyden (D-OR), Young (R-IN), and Isakson (R-GA), along with Reps. DelBene (D-WA), Beyer (D-VA), Marchant (R-TX), and Walorski (R-IN). The bill would expand the Housing Credit by 50% over five years and make important reforms to enable deeper income targeting in the program. To learn more, see NLIHC’s factsheet on the bill.

Bridging the Gap Between Incomes and Rent

  • Rent Relief Act (1106, H.R. 2169) – Senators Harris (D-CA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Hassan (D-NH) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), Davis (D-IL), and Gomez (D-CA). The bill creates a new refundable tax credit to cost-burdened households, making it possible for millions of the lowest-income people to afford roofs over their heads. To learn more, see NLIHC’s chart comparing renter credit proposals.
  • Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act – Senator Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Clyburn (D-SC). The bill creates a new, refundable tax credit to eliminate housing cost burdens for millions of the lowest-income people and incentivizes local communities to address regulatory and zoning barriers that restrict supply and drive up housing costs. To learn more, see NLIHC’s chart comparing renter credit proposals.

Advancing Fair Housing and Equity

  • Keeping Families Together Act of 2019 ( 1904, H.R. 2763) – Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) and Garcia (D-TX). The bill would prevent HUD from taking steps to evict mixed-status immigrant families – including 55,000 children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents – from federally assisted housing.
  • Ensuring Equal Access to Shelter Act of 2019 ( 2007, H.R. 3018) – Senator Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Wexton (D-VA). The bill would prevent HUD from taking steps to roll back protections for transgender people experiencing homelessness and seeking shelter – a move that would literally put lives at risk.
  • Fair Housing Improvement Act ( 1986, H.R. 3516) – Senator Kaine (D-VA) and Reps. Peters (D-CA), Schiff (D-CA), Grijalva (D-AZ), Serrano (D-NY), and Pressley (D-MA). If enacted, the bill would protect veterans and low-income families from housing discrimination by expanding the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination based on source of income or veteran status.
  • Fair and Equal Housing Act ( 1246, H.R. 2402) – Senator Kaine (D-VA) and Rep. Schneider (D-IL). The bill would prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Fair Chance at Housing Act ( 2076, H.R. 3685) – Senators Harris (D-CA) and Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), . The proposal would reform the ways in which public housing authorities and owners of federally-assisted housing screen out applicants or evict tenants based on their involvement with the criminal justice system. For more details, see NLIHC’s factsheet on the FCAH Act.
  • Restoring Fair Housing Protections Eliminated by HUD Act – Rep. Waters (D-CA). The proposal to enforce fair housing rights was crafted in response to efforts by the Trump administration to scale back fair housing protections.
  • Tenant Protection Act – Senator Booker (D-NJ). The proposal would take important steps to reform tenant screening practices to provide people applying for rental homes the necessary protections to ensure a fair and equitable screening process.

Ensuring Equitable Disaster Recovery

  • Reforming Disaster Recovery Act (R. 3702) – Senator Schatz (D-HI) and Young (R-IN), and Reps. Wagner (R-MO) and Green (D-TX). The bills permanently authorize and reform the federal government’s primary long-term disaster rebuilding program, the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program, which provides states and communities with the flexible resources needed to rebuild affordable housing and infrastructure after a disaster. For more details, see NLIHC’s factsheet.
  • Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act ( 1605, H.R. 2914) – Senators Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Espaillat (D-NY). This bill would require FEMA to activate the Disaster Housing Assistance Program to provide temporary rental assistance and wrap-around services to those households displaced by disasters. See NLIHC’s factsheet on DHAP.

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Join a National Call-In Day on July 22, 2019 with the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Georgia ACT

 (Courtesy of the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. Georgia ACT is the Georgia State Intermediary for the NLIHC ). 

Join a National Call-In Day on

July 22 to Lift the Caps!

NLIHC, the Coalition for Human Needs, and other national organizations are hosting a Call-In Day on Monday, July 22 to urge congressional leaders and President Trump to reach an agreement to lift the federal spending caps and fully fund affordable housing programs. Without an agreement, affordable housing investments and other key resources may face devastating, across-the-board cuts of almost 10%.

Congress needs to hear from you!

 

Call 1-202-224-3121

 

Background

Congress and the White House have until October 1 to pass FY 2020 spending bills – including funding for affordable housing – or risk a government shutdown. Before the bills can be enacted, however, congressional leaders must reach an agreement to lift the low spending caps required by law on defense and domestic programs. If the spending caps are not lifted, key affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs will face a nearly 10% cut.

Congress has 26 legislative days before the October 1 deadline. Because Congress will soon adjourn for August recess, they must act quickly.

Once an agreement is reached, the Senate will begin working on their spending bills. A budget agreement could allow even higher levels of funding for housing and community development than those included in the robust spending bill passed by the House earlier this year. For more details on the House bill, see NLIHC’s analysis and updated budget chart.

How You Can Participate

Join housing advocates around the country by calling your senators and representatives on Monday, July 22 to urge them to lift the low spending caps and to ensure affordable housing and community development programs receive the highest funding levels possible for FY 2020.

Sample Script:

“Please work with your colleagues to lift the low federal spending caps that have prevented Congress from funding affordable housing investments at the level needed. We cannot risk across-the-board cuts to affordable housing and community development programs that help families thrive.”

 

Call 1-202-224-3121

Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc.

250 Georgia Avenue, SE, Suite 350

Atlanta, GA 30312

Office: (404) 586-0740

Email: info@georgiaact.org

Web: www.georgiaact.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaACT

Twitter: @GeorgiaACT

Instagram: @GeorgiaACT250

2019 Georgia ACT Federal Housing Policy and Advocacy

Georgia ACT’s Federal Policy Priorities

 (Courtesy of the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. Georgia ACT is the Georgia State Intermediary for the NLIHC and NCRC). A pdf version of Georgia ACT’s 2019 federal policy agenda can be downloaded here.

  • Protecting, expanding and monitoring the implementation of the National Housing Trust Fund.

The National Housing Trust Fund is the first new housing resource in a generation. It is exclusively targeted to help build, preserve, and rehabilitate housing for people with the lowest incomes. NLIHC, its members, and other stakeholders played a critical role in the creation of the Housing Trust Fund in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. In 2016, the first $174 million in HTF dollars were allocated to states. In 2017, $219 million was available, and in 2018, $267 million is available.

  • Preserving and increasing resources for federal affordable housing programs serving extremely low-income families.
    • Despite a proven track record, federal housing programs have been chronically underfunded. NLIHC and Georgia ACT advocates for increased funding for Housing Choice Vouchers, public housing, project-based rental assistance, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, and homeless assistance grants, among many other programs. We opposes efforts to cut housing benefits by imposing arbitrary work requirements, time limits, and other restrictions. These so-called reforms are neither cost effective nor a solution to the very real issue of poverty impacting millions of families living in subsidized housing or in need.
    • NLIHC and Georgia ACT supports the creation of a new, innovative renters’ tax credit to help the lowest income families afford a place to call home. Moreover, any expansion of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit should be tied to reforms to ensure that the program better serves families with the greatest needs. NLIHC and Georgia ACT will also work to preserve and expand affordable housing available in rural areas by supporting funding for USDA Rural Development programs and opportunities to preserve the agency’s rental housing portfolio.
    • NLIHC and Georgia ACT advocates for the creation of a National Housing Stabilization Fund to provide emergency assistance to low income households to prevent housing instability and homelessness.  Temporary assistance can stabilize households experiencing major economic shocks before it leads to situations which require more prolonged and extensive housing assistance.
  • Ensuring federal disaster recovery efforts are fair and equitable. The NLIHC and Georgia ACT will work to ensure that all displaced families have a safe, accessible, and affordable place to live while they get back on their feet. Georgia ACT is a member of the NLIHC’s Disaster Recovery Coalition. The Disaster Recovery Coalition works to ensure that federal disaster recovery efforts reach all impacted households, including the lowest income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and other at-risk populations who are often the hardest-hit by disasters.
  • Promoting equitable access to affordable housing.
    • NLIHC and Georgia ACT supports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule issued in 2015 that helps communities better meet their fair housing obligations and promotes housing choice. Also, the NLIHC and Georgia ACT supports increasing mobility opportunities through new allocations of special mobility vouchers, expanded mobility counseling, and regional mobility programs, as well as the continued implementation of HUD Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) in certain metropolitan areas that protect current and future tenants.
    • NLIHC and Georgia ACT supports expanding the Fair Housing Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income.
    • NLIHC and Georgia ACT advocates for safe, stable, affordable and accessible housing for those who have been involved in the criminal or juvenile justice system. By eliminating the barriers to housing and supporting programs that help formerly incarcerated people successfully reintegrate into their communities, people with criminal records can make the most of their second chance. In addition, NLIHC and Georgia ACT advocates to end the criminalization of homelessness. Nationwide, homeless people are targeted, arrested, and jailed under laws that criminalize homelessness by making illegal those basic acts that are necessary for life.
  • Championing anti-poverty solutions. NLIHC supports efforts to protect vital safety net programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Affordable Care Act, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Moreover, NLIHC and Georgia strongly supports efforts to increase the minimum wage and to target federal resources to communities with persistent poverty. Through Georgia ACT’s partners at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), Georgia ACT will advocate to legislators and monitor regulators’ ability to strengthen the CRA, so that underserved communities have greater access to credit and capital.

Georgia ACT’s State and Federal Policy Action Strategies:

  • Housing Day at the Georgia State Capitol on February 27, 2019 (in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and the Empire Board of Realists, Inc.) – Advocacy Training and Engagement from 7:30am to 2:00pm. Register at https://georgiaact.org/advocacy/housingday2019/
  • Messaging and Advocacy Training Webinar for Housing Day at the Georgia State Capitol – February 19, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. Register for the advocacy training here.
  • Advocacy updates and alerts throughout the legislative session to empower statewide engagement with legislators on affordable housing priorities.
  • Engage Department of Community Affairs to increase access to affordable housing through:
    • Enforcement of annual state housing goals and legislative reporting requirements.
    • Increase State Plan commitments for housing low-income families.
  • Expand the coalition of organizations working together to increase access to safe, decent, affordable housing for all Georgians.
  • Expand public education on affordable housing to raise awareness.
  • Obtain input from organizations, municipalities, practitioners, and advocates throughout the state of Georgia on affordable housing issues to build a 2020 legislative agenda.
  • Participation of “Hill Day” in Washington, DC from our national partners including the National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations, Center for Community Change, etc.
  • Advocacy engagements with U.S. House, Senators, and other federal agencies via sign-on letters, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter (Twitter storms), and Instagram.
  • Advocacy updates and alerts throughout the year to expand public education on affordable housing, anti-poverty initiatives, and community development issues via newsletters, social media, webinars (Zoom), in-person meetings, and listening sessions.

Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc.

250 Georgia Avenue, SE, Suite 350

Atlanta, GA 30312

Office: (404) 586-0740

Email: info@georgiaact.org

Web: www.georgiaact.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaACT

Twitter: @GeorgiaACT

Instagram: @GeorgiaACT250

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/