WASHINGTON, D.C.– The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the United for Homes Campaign applaud Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) for his Common Sense Housing Investment Act of 2015, H.R. 1662, which he introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
H.R. 1662 would make modest changes to the Mortgage Interest Deduction that will accomplish two important goals. First, it makes the tax code fairer and simpler, while expanding the number of low and moderate income homeowners with mortgages who would get tax breaks. Second, it would save an estimated $230 billion over ten years and direct the savings to provide more affordable homes for the lowest income families, those who are priced out of the housing market.
Today, there is a nationwide shortage of 7.1 million rental homes that are affordable and available for extremely low income households, those with incomes at or below 30% of the median income in their communities. Many of these households have incomes below the federal poverty level. Three-quarters of extremely low income renter households spend more than half of their income for housing, making them unable to afford other necessities and vulnerable to losing their homes with an unexpected expense or interruption of income. This housing shortage is the cause of homelessness in the United States today.
“With the new resources generated by Mr. Ellison’s bill, we can end homelessness and help ensure that every child, senior citizen, and person with a disability in America has a decent, stable, and affordable home,” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Moreover, we can do this without costing the federal government any more money, without adding to the deficit.”
H.R. 1662 would cap the amount of a home mortgage eligible for a tax break at $500,000, down from the current cap of $1 million. Only 4.5% of all mortgages taken out from 2011 to 2013 were for over $500,000. The bill also would convert the deduction to a non-refundable mortgage interest tax credit. These two changes will expand the number of homeowners who would receive a tax break on their mortgages from 39 to 55 million. Virtually, all the 16 million additional homeowners who would benefit have incomes under $100,000 a year.
Mr. Ellison’s bill would direct 60% of the new savings to the National Housing Trust Fund, a block grant to states designed to expand the rental housing supply affordable for extremely low income households. He would also provide additional resources for the Public Housing Capital Fund, the Section 8 program, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.
The United for Homes Campaign, composed of 2,000 national, state, and local organizations and elected officials located in all 435 Congressional Districts and the District of Columbia, endorses H.R 1662 and pledges to work with Mr. Ellison to advance this ground-breaking piece of legislation.
For more information on the United for Homes Campaign, go to www.unitedforhomes.org.
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes