Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 Bill Announced to Strengthen Low Income Housing Tax Credit

On March 7th, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), announced S. 548, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017, a bill created to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reform and strengthen the low-income housing credit, as well as provide the proper resources required to produce new and rehabilitate current affordable housing.

Senators Cantwell and Hatch are joined by original cosponsor Senators: Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Todd Young (R-IN).

Senator Cantwell also released a new report on the nationwide affordable housing crisis. The full report can be found here. Highlights include:

  • By mid-2015, 43 million families and individuals were renters, a 19% increase from 2005 to nearly 9 million – the largest gain in the number of renters in any 10-year period on record.
  • Between 2001 and 2013, the United States lost nearly 13% of its existing affordable rental housing.
  • From 2000 to 2013, the total number of Americans facing extreme housing unaffordability has exploded from 7 million to 11.2 million – a nearly 60% increase.
  • Seniors, veterans and the homeless are driving increased demand. From 2001 to 2011, the number of severely cost burdened seniors rose from 1.3 million to 1.6 million, a 30% increase.
  • By 2025 nearly 15 million Americans could be spending half of their monthly income on rent – an increase of 25%.
  • If we do nothing, the number of seniors experiencing extreme housing unaffordability will increase of nearly 60% by 2025 – a total of 2.7 million.

Under the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, “the expanded LIHTC would help create or preserve approximately 1,300,000 affordable homes over a 10 year period – an increase of 400,000 more units than is possible under the current program.” (cantwell.senate.gov)