New legislation aims to address affordable housing needs

Source: MGN
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WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- A bill to boost affordable housing option for low-income families in Virginia has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Tim Kaine joined Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah as a sponsor of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017.

According to a release, the bill would expand and reform the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to encourage developers to increase the supply of affordable housing.

"This bill marks an important step toward addressing Virginia's affordable housing needs," said Kaine. "By expanding and updating the low-income housing tax credit, we can attract additional development and ensure that hardworking Virginians have access to quality, affordable housing for their families."

The release states there is currently a shortage of 165,000 units of affordable housing for extremely low-income renters in Virginia.

And it says more than 70 percent of extremely low-income renters spend more than half of their income on rent in the Commonwealth.

The legislation aims to create or preserve 1.3 million affordable homes nationally over a ten year period, an increase of 400,000 over what is feasible under the current program by expanding the housing credit by 50 percent, providing flexibility to make the financing of affordable housing more predictable, facilitating development in challenging markets like rural and Native American communities, increasing the credit's ability to serve extremely low-income tenants, and supporting the preservation of existing affordable housing.

More than 2,000 organizations from across the country have signed a campaign letter in support of the legislation, including the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program and the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville.

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