2018 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.
Our top priorities for 2018 are:
- Strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit,
- Extending the New Markets Tax Credit,
- Maximizing resources for affordable housing and community development,
- Promoting inclusive communities of opportunity,
- Supporting investments in housing as part of our nation's infrastructure,
- Expanding support to renters in housing finance reform, and
- Providing resources and guidance for communities to increase disaster resilience.
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. 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 millions 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 so 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 bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit and make a meaningful dent in the severe shortage of affordable housing.
The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) attracts private investment capital to some of the most distressed urban, suburban and rural communities. Between 2003 and 2014, the NMTC generated over $75 billion in capital investment and created over 750,000 jobs in communities with high poverty rates, low incomes and high unemployment. Recognizing the NMTC's proven track record, Congress retained the NMTC in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, 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 will continue to support expansion and permanent extension of the NMTC.
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 tent-based rental assistance.
- Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), which provides flexible funding to cities and states to address housing, infrastructure, and public services in low-moderate-income neighborhoods.
- Section Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development Program (Section 4), 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.
- Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD), which helps Public Housing Agencies access private capital to address their $26 billion capital backlog nationwide.
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 the new program is structure to most effectively target capital for reinvestment in distressed urban and rural communities.
Learn more about how you can advocate for these vital programs on Enterprise's Federal Budget and Appropriations page.
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 urban and rural neighborhoods. Enterprise will support fair housing and equity policies that foster inclusive communities of opportunity, including investments in housing, transportation, education, economic opportunities and other critical elements of strong communities. We will also pursue policies that connect low-income families to opportunity, such as removing regulatory barriers to development and promoting equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD).
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 we will advocate to include an expansion of Housing Credit and NMTC allocations, capital investments in public housing through RAD, and flexible funding to communities through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships programs.
Enterprise will advocate for America’s renters in any effort to reform the nation’s housing finance system. We will 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.
Provide resources and guidance for communities to increase disaster resilience.
Because low-income communities are facing increased threats from natural disasters, Enterprise will champion their needs across a suite of federal programs. Enterprise will work with Congress and federal agencies to highlight the need for dedicated technical assistance and capacity building for governments and nonprofits receiving federal funds and interfacing with federal rebuilding programs as they rebuild and recover from devastating hurricanes, forest fires, mudslides, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. We will develop and share best practices on the administration of federal funds and support efforts to permanently authorize Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding for disaster-impacted communities. Enterprise will advocate for smarter standards to ensure the billions of dollars invested in rebuilding will not put people, property and taxpayer dollars at risk from future disasters, and fight to protect the affordability of flood insurance for owners of multifamily apartments and low-income homeowners.
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.