Omnibus Bill Includes Provisions to Strengthen and Expand the Housing Credit
Today Congress agreed to an omnibus spending bill, which includes several key provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661):
- A 12.5 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation for four years (2018-2021), and
- Income averaging, on a permanent basis after enactment of this bill, which would allow the 60 percent AMI ceiling to apply to the average of all apartments in a project rather than each individual Housing Credit apartment.
The House and Senate must now vote to pass this omnibus bill before government funding runs out on Friday, March 23.
The inclusion of these provisions is a testament of the affordable housing community’s tireless advocacy to build strong bipartisan support for the Housing Credit and this legislation. Since the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act was first introduced in 2016, nearly one-third of Congress has signed on, a remarkable display of bipartisan support for the country’s renters.
Enterprise is extremely grateful for the strong leadership and perseverance shown by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), former Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and House Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), as well as congressional leadership and the more than 160 members of Congress who have shown support for this legislation. We look forward to continued partnerships like these to build on this momentum and continue advocating to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit.
Enterprise is also proud to co-chair the ACTION Campaign, a national coalition of more than 2,100 organizations advocating in support of the Housing Credit. This grassroots network of advocates was instrumental in the fight to advance these critical provisions at a time when the need for additional Housing Credit resources has never been greater – there are more than 11 million households nationwide paying more than half of their income in rent.
In addition, as a result of the lower corporate tax rate recently enacted through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Housing Credit equity is expected to decline by roughly 14 percent. The increase in resources and new flexibilities authorized in the omnibus will go a long way towards sustaining Housing Credit production.
There are many other important provisions in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that we will continue to seek to advance, but the enactment of these key provisions is a critical step that would not have been possible without the unwavering commitment of advocates, stakeholders and elected officials.