The lack of affordable housing is a significant and growing issue affecting the health, mental health and economic security of many older adults. The disturbing increases in senior homelessness—in some communities more than a third of homeless on the streets are now older adults—highlights the magnitude of the problem. That is why ASA’s Public Policy Committee has made creation of affordable housing units, and strategies to combat older adult homelessness, top priorities.
Financing affordable housing is complicated and often requires many different funding streams. One of the most important streams are Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). The problem is that the credits are often highly competitive because their availability is so restricted, resulting in many vital affordable housing initiatives being stymied by lack of financial incentives.
In June, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 1703/H.R. 3077) to increase investment in affordable housing and address seniors’ housing needs. The bill would increase LIHTC by 50 percent to encourage developers to build affordable rental housing. It would also stabilize the value of the 4 percent LIHTC rate to create more certainty for new and ongoing projects and allow multifamily housing bonds to be “recycled” and used for affordable housing. Other provisions of the bill would make the credit more effective in Native American and rural communities and allow the credit to be used for veteran-specific housing.
The bill would create or preserve 1.3 million affordable homes over a decade. This is an increase of about 400,000 units than are likely under the current LIHTC law, which has not been updated in over 30 years.
ASA is calling upon Congress to pass, and the President to sign, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, as quickly as possible, and we need your help. Please contact your Member of Congress and both of your state’s U.S. Senators asking them to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation and, of course, to vote in favor when it reaches the floor.
Here is a sample email:
On behalf of the American Society on Aging, I am writing to urge you to cosponsor H.R. 3077/S. 1703, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. This bill would update the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit for the first time in over 30 years to help address seniors’ affordable housing needs.
The nation’s senior population is growing rapidly, with about 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day. Unfortunately, the production of new housing units has not kept up, and many seniors struggle to find affordable housing options. Currently, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is the most important resource for creating affordable housing in the United States.
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would enhance this resource by increasing the credit by 50 percent. This would encourage developers to build more to address seniors’ unmet housing needs. Additionally, the bill would make the credit more effective in Native American and rural communities and allow the credit to be used for veteran-specific housing. If enacted, the legislation would create or preserve 1.3 million affordable homes over a decade, which is an increase of about 400,000 units than under the current law.
Let me know if you have any questions. And thank you for considering adding your name to this important bill.
To find your member of the House of Representatives, go to this link.
To find your U.S. Senator, go to this link.
The phone number for the U.S. Capitol is (202) 226-8000.
Please email ASA Public Policy Committee co-chair, Paul Downey, with any feedback from the elected officials you contact and/or if you have any questions. His email: firstname.lastname@example.org