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NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel Statement on the Reintroduction of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

Washington, D.C. – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) applauds Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for their leadership in reintroducing the “Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act” to expand and reform the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the largest national affordable housing production program in the U.S. If enacted, the bill would take important steps toward alleviating the growing rental housing affordability crisis by expanding and reforming the tax credit to better serve the nation’s lowest-income families – those with the greatest and clearest needs.

“As more extremely low-income households struggle to afford to keep a roof over their head, and as homelessness increases in many communities, Congress must take every action to address the severe shortage of homes affordable to the lowest-income people,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “The reforms proposed in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act enable states and communities to better ensure that homes built with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit are affordable to the lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and low-wage workers. Congress must include in any tax package these critically needed reforms to better serve households with the greatest needs.”

According to NLIHC’s report The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Rental Homes, there is a national shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes for America’s lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals. Nationwide, there are only 33 affordable and available renter homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. Without affordable housing options, seven in 10 extremely low-income households are severely housing cost burdened, spending more than half their limited incomes on housing. Extremely low-income renters are more likely to be severely housing cost-burdened than any other income group, accounting for 72% of all severely housing cost-burdened renters in the U.S. These families are forced to make impossible trade-offs between paying rent and putting food on the table, visiting their doctor, or saving for a rainy day.

LIHTC is the primary source of financing for the construction and preservation of affordable housing, but homes financed solely with the tax credit are very rarely affordable to renter households with the lowest incomes. If enacted, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would reform the tax credit to provide additional incentives to developers to build homes affordable to the extremely low-income households who are most impacted by the housing crisis, as well as underserved rural and Native American communities. These improvements to the LIHTC program are a necessary step toward addressing our nation’s affordable housing crisis.

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