Our Policy Priorities
The Enterprise Public Policy team works with Congress, the Obama Administration, state and local governments, community development organizations and other partners and stakeholders to safeguard, expand and improve affordable housing and community development programs. Enterprise has released a bold long-term platform of policies needed to address America's rental housing crisis. View our 2016 Policy Priorities.
Our strategic priorities for 2016 include:
- Expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit,
- Protect funding for critical housing and community development programs,
- Building communities of opportunity, and
- Researching and promoting solutions to address critical affordable housing and community development needs.
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 roughly 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 over 1,300 organizations dedicated to expanding and strengthening the Housing Credit. In 2016, we will advocate for at least a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit resources and other policies to make the program more streamlined and flexible.
Enterprise will advocate to preserve funding for the Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing program, which ensures 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 will also work to ensure the highest possible funding level for HUD programs, and to specifically support funding for the HOME Investments Partnership Program, which provides gap financing that makes many affordable housing developments possible, and 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 defend the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund, support investments in Community Development Financial Institutions, and encourage efforts to modernize rental assistance programs through regulatory reform and initiatives like HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration.
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. To this end, Enterprise will advocate for resources for the successful implementation of HUD’s new 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. Creative approaches to revitalizing neighborhoods have the potential to transform critically needed low income housing, neighborhoods and the lives of its residents. As part of this goal, we are advocating to permanently extend and expand the New Markets Tax Credit in order to revitalize our nation’s most distressed communities, to promote equitable transit-oriented development that connects affordable housing to a wider range of services, and to encourage impact investing and other innovative financing that leverage private sector resources for the development of affordable housing and services for low-income households.
Read blog posts and webpages related to the issues and tools that have an impact on opportunity:
- Fair Housing
- Green Building
- Equitable TOD
- Supportive Housing and Homelessness Services
- Senior Housing
- New Markets Tax Credits
Researching and promoting solutions to address critical affordable housing and community development needs
Enterprise engages policymakers, partners and the public on understanding affordable housing, financing and community development and making recommendations for policies that create communities of opportunity. Our Expanding the Supply of Affordable Homes program will conduct research and offer implementation support to improve housing affordability.
We also continue our work to identify the barriers that millions of renters face in finding long-term affordable housing; to describe the personal, neighborhood, educational, health and social benefits when low-income renters achieve greater housing stability; and to quantify the impacts of affordable housing development for residents and neighborhoods. We are also studying small multifamily buildings, which are a crucial source of affordable rental units.
In 2015, Enterprise launched a new State and Local Policy Initiative with an eye to helping the communities we work with consider new options for housing resources at the state and local levels.
Examples of policies we promote at the state and local level include new affordable housing resources like housing bonds and local housing trust funds, inclusionary housing policies, state and local land banks, and regulations that encourage innovation and promote the cost-effective development of multifamily housing
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 are seeking to have elements of our platform incorporated into campaign platforms and the policy agendas of elected officials, and eventually enacted into law. But 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, while continuing to seek opportunities to advance other components of our long-term vision.