Congressman Jimmy Gomez, California Ways and Means Democrats Introduce the Opportunity Starts at Home Act
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and California Ways and Means Democrats Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05), Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced the Opportunity Starts at Home Act to provide permanent, supportive services for people at-risk of experiencing homelessness. The legislation, included in the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), establishes a new tax credit that supports affordable housing financed by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) in providing services to help vulnerable individuals and those with serious and long-term disabilities – such as mental illness, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, substance abuse disorders, and chronic health conditions – access and maintain stable housing.
“The Opportunity Starts at Home Act represents a comprehensive approach to our nation’s homelessness crisis, as well as the challenges working individuals and families face in keeping a roof over their heads,” said Congressman Gomez. “The bill recognizes the importance of confronting this humanitarian emergency from every angle by supporting low-income renters and the most vulnerable among us with services that address their financial, employment, and physical and mental health needs. I’d like to thank my Ways and Means Committee colleagues for working with me on this legislation and extend my appreciation to Chairman Richard Neal for the opportunity to incorporate it into House Democrats’ legislative efforts to rebuild America’s infrastructure.”
“Support services for low-income renters can play an important role in preventing homelessness,” said Congressman Panetta. “The Opportunity Starts at Home Act incentivizes contributions to supportive services reserve funds which can provide health care, job training, financial counseling, and other services to those who need help staying in their homes. It's this type of legislation that we work on as members of the Ways and Means Committee and in Congress that can help those most at-risk on the Central Coast.”
“Families in California and across the country continue to struggle with housing costs," said Congresswoman Sánchez. "This is especially true for the tens of millions currently out of work. Housing services such as tenant rights, job training, and financial counseling are all part of an ecosystem that helps build stronger, healthier communities. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation, which make these services available at no cost to tenants. Doing so empowers tenants and helps families maintain their homes.”
For purposes of this credit, supportive services are defined as services provided to low-income tenants including health services, coordination of benefits, job search assistance and training, financial counseling, resident engagement services, or services the principal purpose of which is to help tenants retain permanent housing.
LIHTC is the most important federal resource for creating affordable housing in the United States. Since its creation 30 years ago, LIHTC has built or rehabilitated more than 3.2 affordable housing units, leveraging more than $190 billion in private investment to do so. During that time, the credit has been responsible for nearly 90 percent of all federally funded affordable housing.
The Opportunity Starts At Home Act is one part of the affordable housing provisions included in H.R. 2, Moving Forward Act, House Democrats $1.5 trillion plan to transform American infrastructure—not only our roads, bridges, and transit systems, but also our schools, housing, broadband access, and more. By investing in families, workers, and communities across the country, we can support American manufacturing and ingenuity and create millions of jobs that cannot be exported, all while putting our country on a path toward zero carbon emissions, making communities and roads safer, and addressing long-standing disparities.