WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) released its 2023 Public Policy Priorities, a comprehensive set of federal policy recommendations for the 118th Congress. Building on Enterprise’s 40-year history advocating for affordable housing at every level of government, the recommendations are designed to address the nationwide affordable housing shortage by increasing resources, advancing racial equity and upward mobility and creating more sustainable, resilient communities.
“The members of the 118th Congress must prioritize the deep affordability challenges facing people and communities in every state. This document, rooted in the communities we serve, offers solutions that will effect lasting change,” said Jacqueline Waggoner, President of the Solutions Division at Enterprise. “At a time where a divided Congress faces gridlock, Enterprise looks forward to partnering with our leaders in Washington to impact the lives of millions and ensure everyone has a safe, stable place to call home.”
Enterprise’s policy recommendations are organized around three pillars:
Increase access to and investments in federal programs that produce and preserve affordable housing for people nationwide
- Key recommendations: Expand and strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit); establish the Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit; provide resources to vital HUD, USDA and Treasury programs that build affordable housing, including the HOME program, Section 515 and the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund
Advocate for underserved communities, address systemic racial inequities and end cycles of poverty in support of equitable opportunities for upward mobility
- Key recommendations: Ensure the new final rules for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) strengthen and expand affordable housing investments; expand fair housing initiatives like housing vouchers and protections against source of income discrimination among voucher holders; support policies that create and preserve affordable housing on Native lands; expand and make permanent the New Markets Tax Credit
Advance sustainable communities and healthy homes through resilience and equitable disaster recovery
- Key recommendations: Prioritize affordable housing in the deployment of funding through the Inflation Reduction Act; permanently authorize the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program by passing the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act; incentivize an equitable transition away from fossil fuels
Policies in Practice
Enterprise’s policy priorities stem from its vision to create a foundation for dignity, health, education, wealth and community. Below are just a few examples of how these policies impact the people and communities where we work:
As pioneers of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Enterprise supports policies that bring together the public and private sectors to create and preserve more affordable rental homes nationwide. Enterprise helped found and continues to co-chair the ACTION Campaign, which today comprises some 2,400 national, state and local organizations and business working to ensure key stakeholders understand the Housing Credit.
“We can’t solve our nation’s affordability crisis if we don’t first commit the resources to build and preserving affordable rental homes on a much greater scale nationwide. The Housing Credit provides a powerful tool for public, non-profit, and private sectors to partner and deliver the housing supply our country needs," said Ismael Guerrero, president and CEO of Mercy Housing and chair of the Enterprise Community Leadership Council.
Our federal priorities to preserve and create more homes include:
- Expand and strengthen the Housing Credit
- Establish the Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit, which would mobilize private equity investment to develop or renovate single and multifamily homes in distressed neighborhoods
- Reform the Qualified Contract and Right of First Refusal provisions in Housing Credit law to ensure long-term affordability
- Modernize and reauthorize the HOME Program, our country’s most flexible and proven affordable housing program for delivering resources to urban, suburban, and rural communities
- Increase federal funding for HUD’s Section 4 program and the USDA’s Section 515 and Section 521 rural housing programs
Enterprise advocates for direct and purposeful policy actions that advance racial equity in our communities and undo the legacy of past policies that actively and legally fostered racial segregation and limited access to opportunities for people of color.
Our federal fair housing priorities include:
- Expand funding and acceptance of housing choice vouchers and other rental subsidies
- Create incentives for municipalities and local jurisdictions to remove exclusionary zoning ordinances
- Require federal funding grantees to make meaningful progress towards reducing residential segregation in their communities through the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule
- Expand the protections in the Fair Housing Act to include receipt of nontraditional sources of income and evaluate the way involvement with the justice system is considered
Sustainability and climate resilience
The effort to create more sustainable and energy-efficient communities, protect against extreme weather events, transition away from fossil fuels and recover from natural disasters must center the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
“Over the past few years Florida has been hit with severe storms and flooding, devastating communities across the state. It is always the lowest income communities and families that struggle the hardest to recover. Enterprise is setting the standard for how we need to ensure all homes, especially those serving our most vulnerable communities, are prepared for the storms ahead,” said Shannon Nazworth, president and CEO of Ability Housing, Inc. and a member of the Enterprise Community Leadership Council.
As the federal government begins to deploy over $300 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act, Enterprise will continue to advocate for investments that prioritize the safety and sustainability of lower-income communities.
Other federal sustainability and resilience priorities include:
- Pass the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act, which would permanently authorize the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program
- Collect and publicize better data on climate risk across the country
- Require public participation in community disaster planning
- Set and enforce resilient building standards for all new construction and substantial rehabilitation projects built with federal agency dollars
- Incentivize an equitable transition away from fossil fuels and prioritize energy efficiency in the path to decarbonization by requiring or incentivizing compliance with Enterprise’s Green Communities Criteria
- Create a national resilience strategy to help reorganize how the federal government spends money on disasters
Land on Indian reservations is treated much differently than other land in the United States, making it difficult to improve housing and leading to a shortage of housing on Tribal land; 40 percent of housing on reservations is considered “substandard” due to overcrowding, lack of amenities like indoor plumbing and health issues caused by poor construction.
“Across the country, our communities are calling out for a fair shot at economic mobility stabilized by adequate housing that meets the needs of the places they are proud to call home. Tribes now have a range of tools at their disposal, but historic inequities, regulatory pitfalls, and accessibility issues are a major impediment to growth. It’s critical that the many silos of federal government come together to invest in our communities, our sovereignty, and our wellbeing,” said Tonya Plummer, Director of Native American Housing Programs at Enterprise.
In 2022, Enterprise established the Native American Advisory Council to help create policy platforms and recommendations that address affordable housing on trust lands.
Enterprise’s Native and Tribal housing priorities include:
- Reauthorize the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act
- Pass laws that advance Native homeownership and support the development of multifamily and single-family housing on trust land, including the Native American Rural Homeownership Improvement Act, the Native American Direct Loan Improvement Act, and the Tribal Trust Land Homeownership Act
About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a national nonprofit that exists to make a good home possible for the millions of families without one. We support community development organizations on the ground, aggregate and invest capital for impact, advance housing policy at every level of government, and build and manage communities ourselves. Since 1982, we have invested $64 billion and created 951,000 homes across all 50 states – all to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging. Join us at enterprisecommunity.org | Twitter: @EnterpriseNow