2017 Federal Policy Priorities
The Enterprise Public Policy Team works with Congress, the Administration, state and local governments, community development organizations and other partners and stakeholders to safeguard, expand and improve affordable housing and community development programs.
Our top priorities for 2017 are:
- Preserving, strengthening and expanding key programs in corporate tax reform,
- Maximizing resources for affordable housing and community development,
- Investing in America’s housing infrastructure and urban areas,
- Expanding support to renters in housing finance reform, and
- Promoting inclusive communities of opportunity.
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) is the nation’s largest and most successful tool for encouraging private investment in the production and preservation of affordable rental housing. Over the past 30 years, it has financed nearly 3 million affordable apartments, providing homes to over 6.5 million low-income households. However, our nation’s affordable housing needs are growing at a rate that far outpaces available affordable housing resources, with over 11 million low-income households still paying more than half of their income towards rent. The Housing Credit is a proven tool to help address this crisis.
Enterprise co-leads the ACTION Campaign, a coalition of nearly 2,000 organizations dedicated to expanding and strengthening the Housing Credit. In 2017 we will lead efforts to preserve the Housing Credit in corporate tax reform and maintain the program’s viability, and to protect Multifamily Housing Bonds, which provide critical financing to roughly 40 percent of Housing Credit developments. While defending these resources, we will also continue to advocate for expanding and strengthening the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds.
Enterprise advocates to ensure the highest possible funding level for HUD programs. This includes advocating to preserve funding for the Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing program, through which HUD provides grants to local nonprofits to enhance their ability to carry out affordable housing and community development activities that benefit low-income persons. Grantees leverage nearly $27 in private and public investment for every dollar of Section 4 funding, ensuring that community-based organizations have adequate resources to create and sustain jobs, adapt to new socioeconomic challenges, increase housing production and preserve the vitality and affordability of existing housing developments nationwide.
Enterprise also supports sustained funding for HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which provides gap financing that makes many affordable housing developments possible through activities like down-payment assistance and rehabilitation of affordable housing. Additionally, Enterprise will advocate for sustained funding for the Project-Based Section 8 Rental Assistance (PBRA) and Housing Choice Voucher programs, which together provide affordable homes to over 3 million households. We will also urge Congress to take action to preserve the public housing stock by expanding HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) to preserve at-risk public housing for the long term.
Enterprise will also advocate for the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which provides resources that expand CDFIs’ capacity to generate economic growth and opportunity that would not otherwise be available in some of our nation’s most distressed communities. The CDFI Fund manages the New Markets Tax Credit program, the Capital Magnet Fund, the Bond Guarantee Program and the Financial Assistance program, all of which provide critical financing to affordable housing and community development projects across the country.
Housing is a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure, and we will advocate to include investments in affordable housing as part of any broader infrastructure package or urban investment plan. In addition to the benefits for residents, affordable housing investments create jobs and generate significant, tangible economic benefits for the broader community. Specifically, we will urge that any infrastructure plan include an expansion of Housing Credit and NMTC allocations, capital investments in public housing through RAD, and flexible funding to communities through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships programs.
Enterprise will advocate for America’s renters in any effort to reform the nation’s housing finance system. We will urge broad access to the mortgage market and sustainable pathways to homeownership for all eligible borrowers, particularly those in low-income urban and rural areas. We support establishing an explicit, limited and paid-for government guarantee on qualifying single-family and multifamily mortgage-backed securities, as well as preserving the current multifamily businesses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and ensuring that they continue to focus on affordable rental housing. We will also promote increased resources to the National Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund.
We believe in a balanced approach to fair housing that recognizes the need to provide more affordable housing in communities of opportunity while also revitalizing distressed neighborhoods. Enterprise will urge the Administration to renew a commitment to HUD’s rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, provide guidance and technical assistance to partners as they seek to understand and overcome the patterns of segregation in their communities, and support other fair housing and equity policies that foster inclusive communities of opportunity.
Enterprise also seeks to coordinate investments in housing, transportation, education, economic opportunities and other critical elements of strong communities. As part of this goal, we will pursue policies that connect low-income families to opportunity, such as removing regulatory barriers to development and promoting equitable transit-oriented development.
In early 2016, Enterprise released An Investment in Opportunity, a bold platform that identifies the federal, state and local policies needed to address America’s rental housing crisis in the long-term. Our platform identifies over 20 policy solutions that would ensure broad access to high-opportunity neighborhoods, promote comprehensive public and private investments in low-income neighborhoods, recalibrate our priorities in housing policy to target scarce subsidy dollars where they’re needed most, and improve the overall financial stability of low-income households.
We recognize that comprehensive, systemic change can take decades. In the meantime, we are focused on advancing the policies that are the most urgent and the most feasible within the current political climate, and look forward to working with the Administration, Congress, and nongovernmental partners to explore new ideas and opportunities to administer assistance at reduced costs in order to increase the number of families served.