Federal Policy Priorities
The Enterprise Public Policy Team works with Congress, the Administration, state and local governments, candidates for public office, community development organizations and other partners and stakeholders to safeguard, expand and improve affordable housing and community development programs for the benefit of people of modest means. We do direct advocacy, share information, and create tools for use by concerned citizens to communicate with policy makers.
To view the Enterprise Public Policy Team’s full 2021 playbook, Making Homes Places of Pride, Power and Belonging: Enterprise’s Policy Priorities for 2021, click here. From solutions on how to address the Covid-19 housing disaster to eliminating racial disparities in the housing market, Enterprise’s playbook includes 47 results-driven recommendations the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress should implement to ensure safe, stable and affordable housing for all Americans.
Our top priorities are:
- Strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit
- Extending the New Markets Tax Credit
- Maximizing resources for affordable housing and community development, including HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Section 4 Capacity Building Program
- Advancing fair housing and racial equity through housing and community development policies and programs
- Strengthening accountability and transparency and promoting equitable investments through Opportunity Zones
- Ensuring that housing finance reform and CRA modernization strengthen and expand affordable housing investments
- Supporting investments in housing as part of our nation’s infrastructure
- Providing more resources and better guidance to communities for improved disaster recovery and resilience
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) is the nation’s largest and most successful tool for financing the production and preservation of affordable rental housing. In combination with multifamily Housing Bonds, which provide critical financing to roughly half of all Housing Credit developments, it has financed 3 million affordable apartments over the past 30 years, providing homes to 7 million low-income households. Recognizing their value, Congress retained the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds in its major overhaul of the nation’s tax code in 2017. In early 2018 Congress also passed two provisions from the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit by 12.5 percent for four years. However, with over 11 million low-income households still paying more than half of their income towards rent and affordable housing needs growing at a rate that far outpaces available affordable housing resources, it is critical that Congress enact the remaining provisions of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to make a meaningful dent in the severe shortage of affordable housing.
Enterprise co-leads the ACTION Campaign, a coalition of more than 2,100 organizations dedicated to expanding and strengthening the Housing Credit.
The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) attracts private investment capital to some of the most distressed urban, suburban and rural communities. Between 2003 and 2016, NMTC leveraged nearly $90 billion in capital investment and created over one million jobs in communities with high poverty and unemployment rates. Recognizing the NMTC’s proven track record, Congress retained the NMTC in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, preserving its current authorization through 2019. The NMTC must now be extended permanently in order to provide stability and certainty to this critical community development tool for low-income communities. Enterprise supports the expansion and permanent extension of the NMTC through the New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2019.
Enterprise advocates to ensure the highest possible funding level for a range of programs across several federal agencies.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Enterprise advocates for robust funding for numerous programs at HUD and for policies that expand housing opportunity for low-income households and communities.
- HOME Investment Partnerships Program, a flexible formula grant program that supports new construction and rehabilitation of multifamily housing, homeowner rehabilitation, and tenant-based rental assistance
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, which provides flexible funding to cities and states to address housing, infrastructure, and public services in low-moderate-income neighborhoods
- Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing (Section 4) Program at HUD, which provides grants to local nonprofits to expand their ability to carry out affordable housing and community development activities that benefit low-income communities
- Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) and Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) programs, which together provide affordable homes to over 3 million households.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service
Enterprise advocates for increased funding for USDA's Rural Housing Service programs, which provide housing opportunities for low-income households in rural communities.
- Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loan Program, which provides low-cost long-term loans to developers for the construction or rehabilitation of rural rental housing targeted for those with the greatest needs.
Department of Treasury
Enterprise advocates for higher funding and provides support and guidance for community development programs at the Treasury Department.
- Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) 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.
- Opportunity Zones, which are designed to drive long-term capital to distressed communities. Enterprise is working with our partners to ensure that low-income residents of Opportunity Zones benefit from investments made in their communities, and to implement additional reporting requirements to allow the government to track the investment of money and evaluate the efficacy of the program.
Learn more about how you can advocate for these vital programs on Enterprise's Federal Budget and Appropriations page.
Advance fair housing and racial equity through housing and community development policies and programs
Enterprise believes in a balanced approach to fair housing that includes revitalizing distressed urban and rural neighborhoods, providing more affordable housing in well-resourced communities, and enabling residents to stay in place as investments are made into a low-income community.
We support fair and equitable policies that foster inclusive communities of opportunity, strengthen protections against discrimination and displacement, and address racial inequities.
- Advance policies that fulfill the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition of housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability, and its requirement for communities to take active steps to end racial segregation.
- Expand the Fair Housing Act protections to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of source of income, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
- Protect, restore, and strengthen federal regulations and tools to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH).
- Advance federal, state, and local policies and best practices that strengthen how existing housing programs further fair housing, expand access to opportunity, and address racial inequities.
- Support investments in transportation, education, public health, economic opportunities, and other resources that support economic mobility, while also advancing policies that protect low-income residents from displacement so they can stay in place as investments are made into their communities.
Strengthen accountability and transparency and promoting equitable investments through Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones should be used to advance equitable and inclusive growth. We believe investments made through socially-minded, responsible Opportunity Funds with a commitment to community engagement have the potential to transform communities, grow small businesses, and create broader access to opportunity. Enterprise believes Opportunity Fund investments should thoughtfully serve each low-income community’s unique needs—especially those of long-time residents and business owners—so that the investments do not lead to displacement but rather inclusive community benefits and growth. For this reason, Enterprise believes that the federal government must require public data collection and reporting on Opportunity Fund investments and outcomes, allowing Congress and the public to evaluate whether this new tax incentive is driving equitable investments. Enterprise’s policy team is focused on advancing reporting requirements as a critical first step towards ensuring the program performs as intended. Enterprise is also committed to ensuring that new regulations and the application of OZs into other existing federal housing programs and policies are strengthening how the tax incentive truly serves low-income community needs.
Housing is a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure. The investments we make in our nation’s affordable housing stock directly impact the opportunities available to families and communities. Affordable housing benefits residents, who can access safe and stable housing, and the broader community as affordable housing investments create jobs and generate significant, tangible economic benefits. In any infrastructure package, Enterprise advocates to include an expansion of Housing Credit and NMTC allocations and flexible funding to communities through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships programs.
Ensure that housing finance reform and CRA modernization strengthen and expand affordable housing investments.
Enterprise advocates for America’s renters in any effort to reform the nation’s housing finance system. We also 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 for the National Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund separate from, and in addition to, threshold levels of service to underserved borrowers and communities.
Enterprise is also working to ensure that any modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) does not dilute the law’s effectiveness in promoting equitable community development. Specifically, Enterprise aims to ensure that any new CRA regulations provide a consistent, transparent system that properly gives banks credit for sound community development practices, while simultaneously providing a regulatory framework more consistent with the realities of 21st century business practices. The CRA currently does an excellent job incentivizing investment in the Housing Credit, and any changes must not decrease investment in the program.
Provide more resources and better guidance to communities for improved disaster recovery and resilience.
Low-income households and communities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters, including floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Their homes are more likely to be in areas vulnerable to natural hazards and live in structures that are less resilient to disasters. The increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters due to climate change has become an affordable housing issue. Enterprise advocates for a more equitable disaster recovery process that creates stronger and more resilient communities. We work with Congress and federal agencies to make improvements to federal programs to better support communities and households recovering from natural disasters; highlight the need for dedicated technical assistance and capacity building for governments and nonprofits receiving federal funds; and develop and share best practices on how to maximize the effectiveness of disaster recovery and hazard mitigation funds. Enterprise specifically supports:
- Permanent authorization of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program at HUD
- Requiring smarter rebuilding standards to ensure that billions of dollars invested in rebuilding will not put people, property and taxpayer dollars at risk from future disasters
- Protecting the affordability of flood insurance for owners of multifamily apartments and low-income homeowners