Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Scott Peters (D-CA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the “Rent Relief Act of 2022” bill H.R.8357 in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 14. If passed, the bill would help bridge the widening gap between incomes and housing costs by providing a refundable tax credit for millions of housing cost-burdened renters. The bill would also create a new, refundable tax credit to put more money in the pockets of families at a time when growing inflation is making housing even more unaffordable, particularly for people with the lowest incomes, who are disproportionately people of color. The renters’ tax credit is an innovative strategy that – when paired with significant targeted investments to increase the supply of rental homes – could help solve the nation’s housing crisis. The bill is supported by NLIHC and leading national organizations from the housing, faith, civil rights, health, and anti-poverty sectors represented in the Opportunity Starts at Home (OSAH) campaign.
Nationwide, 8 million of the lowest-income renters pay at least half of their income on rent, leaving them without the resources they need to make ends meet. Despite the clear need, only one in four eligible households receive help, and some households spend years on waitlists due to inadequate funding by Congress. The Rent Relief Act would help close the gap for millions of households who are eligible for vouchers but cannot access them due to this inadequate funding.
The Rent Relief Act would:
- Build on the success of the Child Tax Credit to provide monthly support to renters earning less than $100,000 who spend at least 30% of their adjusted gross income on rent and utilities.
- Help housing cost-burdened renters bridge the gap between income and rents by providing a refundable tax credit that covers a share of the difference between 30% of adjusted gross income and rent, capped at 100% of Small Area Fair Market Rent. For the lowest-income renters earning less than $25,000 annually, the credit would cover the entire difference between 30% of income and rent. The credit would phase out for households earning between $25,000 and $100,000, covering 75% of the 30%-income-to-rent gap for households earning between $25,000 and $50,000; 50% of the gap for households earning between $50,000 and $75,000; and 25% of the gap for households earning between $75,000 and $100,000.
- Ensure the lowest-income families benefit by making the credit fully refundable.
- Overcome administrative barriers that often prevent voucher holders from accessing housing by providing relief directly to renters and minimizing landlord involvement.
“I commend Representatives Danny K. Davis, Jimmy Gomez, Scott Peters, and Jimmy Panetta for their leadership in introducing this bold, innovative proposal to help millions of the lowest-income and most marginalized renters who face impossible choices between paying rent and meeting their other basic needs, including buying groceries and taking care of their health,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC. “More than ever, ambitious policies are needed to help bridge the widening gap between incomes and housing costs. A new tax credit for renters, like the one proposed today, has the power to transform lives, providing America’s lowest-income and most marginalized households with the breadth of opportunities that come from having a stable, affordable place to call home.”
Read an NLIHC fact sheet on the “Rent Relief Act” at: https://bit.ly/3NhRLLx
Read a press release about the bill and see a full list of the bill’s endorsers at: https://bit.ly/3yFPqoo