Mr. Ellison described his legislative proposal to reform public housing, the Rental Housing Revitalization Act. He stressed the importance of residents of public housing being comfortable with the proposal, and emphasized that consultation with residents will be a requirement in his legislative proposal.
He then announced his intent to reform the mortgage interest deduction (MID), saying it is a subsidy that goes to the wealthiest households. The amount spent subsidizing the homes of wealthy households is far more than the amount of the total HUD budget, said the Representative. “I don’t know why we should be giving more to people who have the most,” he said.
Representative Ellison said he will propose eliminating the mortgage interest deduction and replacing it with a mortgage interest tax credit. He said he will reduce housing subsidies for the wealthiest and increase revenue to support affordable rental housing for the lowest income Americans.
The goal, said Representative Ellison, is to “build a big, fat middle class,” and reforming the MID is one step towards addressing that larger goal.
In her introduction of Mr. Ellison, NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley reminded the crowd that Mr. Ellison had sponsored the ground-breaking Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act of 2009, for which he received the 2010 Edward W. Brooke III Housing Leadership Award from NLIHC.