Federal Legislation Introduced to Boost Affordable Housing Tax Credit

A bipartisan group of legislators from the House and Senate introduced legislation last week that makes key improvements to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to increase production and preservation of affordable housing across the country. Since its inception in 1986, LIHTC has financed over 3.2 million apartments, providing approximately 7.4 million low-income families, seniors, veterans and persons experiencing a disability a home they can afford. Virtually no affordable rental housing development would occur without LIHTC.

 

Titled, “The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019,” the legislation builds on successful advocacy in last year’s legislative session when it was co-sponsored by 45 Senators and 182 Representatives.  Provisions from last year’s bill were added to other legislation and signed into law, including a 12.5% increase in the annual credit authorization to the states and the introduction of a new concept called “Income Averaging,” which allows developers to adjust income targeting for units as a method for reaching deeper affordability.

 

Among this year’s top priorities in the bill are:

  • 50% increase in allocation to the states.
  • Provide flexibility for existing tenant’s income eligibility.
  • Clarify protections for victims of domestic violence.
  • Establish a minimum 4% LIHTC rate.
  • Incentives to produce and preserve housing for Extremely Low-Income tenants.
  • Greater flexibility for states to recycle bond proceeds back into multifamily development and homeownership.

Click here for a detailed summary of the bill, here for key differences with last year’s legislation, and here for a Massachusetts fact sheet.