Reps. Gomez and DelBene Introduce Legislation Advancing Equity in Affordable Housing
Washington, September 10, 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) introduced the Affordable Housing Equity Act, a bill that enhances the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to directly incentivize the development of affordable housing for extremely low income (ELI) households.
The Affordable Housing Equity Act provides a basis boost of up to 50% for residential units that house ELI renters, effectively increasing the LIHTC for eligible projects. To qualify, projects must designate at least 20% of units for households earning no more than 30% of area median gross income or the federal poverty line, whichever is greater. A similar provision was included in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 2573), comprehensive legislation to bolster LIHTC introduced by Representative DelBene earlier this year.
“Even before the pandemic magnified the housing crisis, the poorest renters – particularly those of color – faced a greater risk of eviction and homelessness,” said Congressman Gomez. “We cannot build back better without a whole of government approach to tackle housing inequality. My bill would provide a targeted incentive to expand affordable housing access for the most vulnerable members of our communities. I thank Representative DelBene for supporting this important legislation and for her leadership in strengthening and expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.”
“Our country’s affordable housing crisis has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congresswoman DelBene. "The extremely low-income basis boost is a crucial component of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that supports the most vulnerable in our communities. Our legislation leverages a proven tool in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) to bridge the growing housing gap and target support for extremely low-income families.”
Under current law, LIHTC projects in difficult development areas or qualified census tracts are eligible for a 30% basis boost. While this provision can reduce rent to affordable levels for ELI households, it is only effective in limited circumstances. The Affordable Housing Equity Act tailors this approach to sufficiently meet the need for affordable housing specifically among ELI households.