WASHINGTON (KTVZ) – As thousands of Oregonians struggle to find safe, affordable places to call home, and as homelessness continues to rise across the United States at a record-setting rate, Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05) is backing two proposals that would result in the construction of new affordable homes.
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would support the financing of more affordable housing by expanding and strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), which has been a successful affordable housing program across the U.S. Separately, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act seeks to create a new tax incentive that would produce 500,000 starter homes in under-resourced communities over the next decade.
“To address Oregon’s affordable housing shortage and homelessness crisis, I’ve continued trying to find ways to bring down the cost of housing for low-income families. Oregonians across the district continue to bring the affordable housing shortage to my attention as their number one concern. I recently helped introduce the bipartisan Choice in Affordable Housing Act, and I’m proud to now cosponsor the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act. By incentivizing the construction of more affordable housing, these bipartisan proposals will help families in rural, suburban, and urban communities keep a roof over their heads,” Chavez-DeRemer said.
The nationwide housing crisis continues to worsen. So far this year, the number of homeless people in the U.S. has jumped 11 percent since 2022 – the largest increase in recorded history. Currently, nearly one-in-four renters – over 10 million families – spend more than half of their household income on rent. Large rent payments cut into other essential expenses like child care, medication, groceries, and transportation.
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would support the financing of nearly two million new affordable homes by:
- Increasing the amount of credits allocated to each state: The legislation would increase the number of credits available to states by 50 percent for the next two years and make the temporary 12.5 percent increase secured in 2018 permanent, which has already helped build more than 59,000 additional affordable housing units nationwide.
- Increasing the number of affordable housing projects that can be built using private activity bonds: This provision would stabilize financing for workforce housing projects built using private activity bonds by decreasing the amount of private activity bonds needed to secure Housing Credit funding. As a result, projects would have to carry less debt, and more projects would be eligible to receive funding.
- Improving the Housing Credit program to better serve at-risk and underserved communities: The legislation would also make improvements to the program to better serve veterans, victims of domestic violence, formerly homeless students, Native American communities, and rural Americans.
Under the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act:
- Tax credits would be awarded to project sponsors through statewide competitions administered by state housing finance agencies.
- Sponsors, which could include developers, lenders, or local governments, would use the credits to raise capital for their projects, and investors would claim the credits against their federal income taxes.
- The credits could only be claimed for homes developed or rehabilitated in eligible low-income communities, and only after the homes are sold and occupied by lower or middle-income families.