The bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) of 2021 (S. 1136/H.R. 2573) would make significant strides toward addressing our nation’s severe shortage of affordable housing by expanding and strengthening the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit).

The National Network for Youth advocated for and is supportive of this legislation because it strengthens the student rule fix so that youth who have experienced homelessness and survivors of trafficking can access Housing Credit funded housing and pursue their education full time. 

Currently, homeless individuals or those who have experienced homelessness would qualify to live in low-income housing but are not permitted to attend school full-time. The Housing Credit helps create affordable apartment communities with lower than market rate rents by offering tax incentives to the property owners. This means many young people who have experienced homelessness must choose between stable housing or obtaining full-time education. Education has a powerful role to play in preventing and ending youth homelessness. 

Passing AHCIA would ensure that youth who have experienced homelessness and trafficking survivors can access affordable housing while simultaneously pursuing education. 

Key Changes in AHCIA’s 2021 legislation:

  • Improve the Housing Credit student rule provision in the AHCIA to clarify that formerly homeless youth and victims of human trafficking are eligible for affordable housing even if they are full-time students. 
  • A new provision would enable states to maximize affordable housing production and preservation by lowering the threshold of Private Activity Bond financing – from 50 to 25 percent – required to trigger the maximum amount of 4 percent Housing Credits, needed for financial feasibility. 
  • Accelerate implementation of the allocation increase from the previous five years to two years, taking into account the increased and urgent need for affordable housing. 
  • Update the casualty loss provision from the prior AHCIA to allow for a longer rebuilding period after natural disasters if necessary, as determined by the state housing agency.

NN4Y urges Congress to pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and fix the student rule, making it so students experiencing homelessness can go to school full time and access vital LIHTC funded housing.

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What You Need To Know

  • Fixes the student rule issue so that occupants of HC funded housing can attend school full time

  • Ensures that survivors of human trafficking- sex and/or labor- are eligible to live in HC funded housing

  • Raises the Housing Credit volume cap by 50 percent

  • Lowers the bond financing threshold to 25%

  • Make programmatic changes that would allow the Housing Credit to serve hard-to-reach populations, streamline program rules, and preserve more affordable housing

Identical legislation was introduced in the Senate and House:

  • In the Senate: introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • In the House: Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)

Resources

AHCIA Fact Sheet