March 23, 2018

House and Senate Pass Omnibus with Big Wins for Affordable Housing

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Yesterday the House and the Senate voted to approve a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill and the president signed it into law today.

The omnibus includes two key provisions to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit: a 12.5 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation for four years (2018-2021), and a new permanent option for income averaging in Housing Credit properties.

This is the first expansion of the Housing Credit in ten years and will allow for the construction or rehabilitation of nearly 29,000 additional rental homes for low-income families, seniors, veterans, and persons with disability than would have otherwise been possible. While the 12.5 percent increase for four years will not fully make up for the decreased production resulting from tax reform, which will reduce production by an estimated 235,000 over ten years, this increase is an important first step. 

The omnibus also includes significant increases for many affordable housing and community development programs, including $1.36 billion for the HOME Program and $3.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the highest funding either program has seen in seven years. See Enterprise’s updated appropriations chart for more information.

These significant wins for affordable housing, both on the tax and appropriations side, are a clear testament to the power of advocacy and strong support among members of Congress. Enterprise has worked tirelessly with our partners over the last several years to ensure strong bipartisan support for these key programs. Enterprise president and CEO Terri Ludwig released a statement saying: “I am thrilled to see leaders in Washington, DC, devote additional resources to affordable housing and community development programs. The expansion of and flexibility provided to the Housing Credit, as well as the increased funding for critical HUD and USDA programs, will be significant in addressing the vast and growing needs nationwide.”

But our work is not done. Enterprise will continue to advocate for the remaining provisions in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661) to further expand and strengthen the Housing Credit, and we will work with our partners to ensure that proven affordable housing and community development programs receive the necessary resources to serve low-income households and communities.