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June 08, 2023

King Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Address Affordable Housing Shortages

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would create thousands of new low-income homes across Maine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As families across Maine struggle with a lack of affordable housing, U.S. Senator Angus King is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to create nearly two million new affordable homes across the country – including thousands in Maine. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to provide more homes for low-income people, support small businesses trying to attract workers, and fill the state’s gap of more than 20,000 affordable housing units. The LIHTC provides tax credits to state and local agencies to acquire, rehabilitate, or construct rental housing and make it available to lower-income applicants. Eight million American households have benefited from the credit, and 5.5 million jobs have been created in the building or restoring of 3.5 million units.

Maine is experiencing a shortage of affordable housing, with only 51 homes for every 100 renters that have extremely low incomes (ELI). Fifty-eight percent of the state’s ELI renters spend more than half of their incomes on rent. Maine small businesses frequently cite the affordable housing gap as one of the biggest hurdles to find employees.

“There’s one law that Congress can’t repeal: the law of supply and demand. With Maine people struggling to find places to live that fit their budget, it’s clear we need to quickly expand the supply of affordable housing,” said Senator King. “The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would build on the success of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to create millions of new affordable housing units in the communities that need them the most. It’s a bipartisan, commonsense effort to help families find housing that fits their budget. The bill is an important step to address the housing shortages facing the country and I hope we can get it passed quickly for the benefit of families, small businesses, and entire communities.”

“We are delighted that Senator King is supporting the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. By expanding and improving the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a proven and critical resource for the creation of affordable housing, this bill will help Avesta Housing and the State of Maine produce thousands of safe, quality affordable homes that could not otherwise be built,” said Rebecca Hatfield, President & CEO of Avesta Housing. “During a time of unprecedented demand, we are hopeful that bipartisan support of this important bill will result in its speedy passage.”

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would provide Maine thousands of new housing units, leading to an estimated 2,300 more jobs and generating over $256 million in wages. It 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.
  • 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.
  • Improve the Housing Credit program to better serve veterans, victims of domestic violence, formerly homeless students, Native American communities, and rural Americans.

A summary of the legislation can be found here. The text of the legislation can be found here.

Senator King has long been committed to ensuring Maine people across the state can access affordable, safe housing. Last year, he introduced a bipartisan bill to help students who are currently homeless access affordable housing while pursuing their education, and has worked to expand affordable workforce housing on Mount Desert Island.

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