Experts say that the legislation introduced last Wednesday aims to tackle homelessness and expand affordable housing access by addressing sweeping financing reforms.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Decent, Affordable, Safe Housing for All Act (DASHA), which proposes reforms in local zoning and housing development regulations and a Middle Income Housing Tax Credit.
In a statement, Wyden said, “We’re in the midst of a serious housing affordability crisis, which requires bold, large-scale solutions.”
LeadingAge’s key priorities are addressing affordable housing, expanding supportive housing services, and combating homelessness with the bill.
As part of the legislation, local zoning and housing development practices would be reformed, a tax credit would be introduced for supportive housing, and the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act would be authorized.
The bill offers jurisdictions that adopt pro-housing policies a housing and community development grant, said LeadingAge director of housing operations and policy, Julia Bilowich.
Bilowich told McKnight’s Senior Living that improving the housing development process would improve low-income households’ housing security. “Rising homelessness among older adults can be addressed by encouraging zoning improvements.”
The legislation also contains the Emergency Affordable Housing Act, which would enable the construction of more affordable housing, boost rental assistance for very low-income renters, and close a loophole for existing affordable housing, Wyden explained.
Over the next decade, the EAHA is expected to create almost 1 million new affordable housing units.
For older adults and other households who require affordable housing, eliminating the qualified contract loophole is critical, Bilowich said. The program’s Fix on Low-Income Housing Tax Credits benefits everyone, even elderly people.”
It would also provide a credit of 50% on the cost of construction to allow builders to build mid-income housing. States would handle program administration, and federal funds would be distributed annually to them. States could use the funds to enhance their Low-Income Tax Credit programs.
The bill also authorized the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which provides incentives to home builders who build homes in low-income and low-poverty neighborhoods. NHIA tax credits would be awarded to project sponsors by state agencies.
Furthermore, the bill would make $10 billion available for states to acquire, develop, or rehabilitate profoundly affordable housing in the Housing Trust Fund over ten years.
The top priority of LeadingAge is expanding the availability of affordable housing. Low-Income Tax Credits, the primary tool for providing affordable housing to older adults with low incomes, are crucial for addressing their housing needs.
Currently, Congress is involved in a reconciliation process for some portions of the bill.
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