October 18, 2019

New Democrat Coalition Endorses Housing Legislation

Today, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), led by Chair Derek Kilmer, NDC Vice Chair for Policy Suzan DelBene, and NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chairs Reps. Denny Heck, Katie Hill, and Ben McAdams, announced the endorsement of four pieces of housing legislation. The endorsement comes after the NDC Housing Task Force hosted a forum on Capitol Hill focused on challenges that contribute to America’s housing supply shortage and a forum on measurable solutions to address them. The forums and endorsed bills are intended as preliminary actionable solutions to address the housing shortfall identified in the Task Force’s 2018 report, “Missing Millions of Homes.”

The NDC will work to advance the following bills: 

  • Rep. Norma Torres’ H.R. 927 – Sustainable Communities Act, a bill which authorizes the Secretaries of HUD and DoT to carry out a Sustainable Communities Initiative to improve regional planning efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions, and increase the capacity to improve land use and zoning; creates Regional Integrated Planning Grants ($100MM) to support improvements in and coordination of metropolitan-wide housing, transportation, energy, and land use planning activities; creates Community Challenge Planning Grants ($40MM) to foster reform and reduce barriers, including through the reform of existing building codes and zoning ordinances, to achieve affordable, economically vital, and sustainable communities and discourage inefficient land use patterns. Also includes funding for research and evaluation ($10MM) of the program.
  • Rep. Suzan DelBene’s H.R. 3077 – Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill to expand and strengthen the Affordable Housing Tax Credit (i.e. Low Income Housing Tax Credit) by increasing the amount of credits allocated to each state by 50% over current levels; stabilizing the value of the 4% Affordable Housing Tax Credit; and expanding and reforming “recycling” of multifamily housing bonds. It also includes several provisions that reform the tax credit to target specific populations, including veterans, extremely low-income populations, tribe/Native American communities, rural communities, low-income students, and victims of domestic violence and stalking.
  • Rep. Scott Peters’ H.R. 4307 - Build More Housing Near Transit Act, a bipartisan bill to change the rating criteria for the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program (light, rapid, commuter rail projects through the Capital Investment Grants program) to require housing feasibility assessments to determine how and where housing units could be built near new transit stops. The bill also prioritizes local commitment to change land use policies to accommodate market-rate and affordable housing.
  • Rep. Denny Heck’s H.R. 4351 - Yes in My Backyard Act, a bipartisan bill that would require local governments applying for federal housing development funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to report whether they have enacted policies to reduce counterproductive regulations that may affect housing affordability.
“After extensive research into the causes of our national housing crisis, the Housing Task Force is putting rubber to the road and backing legislation that will help increase our housing supply and improve affordability. No one bill alone will alleviate the shortage of homes. But a sustained effort, starting with these four bills, will put us on the right path," said NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chair Denny Heck. 

“I’ve spent my career working to address our country’s housing crisis and I’m proud to continue that advocacy in Congress. These four bills are tangible and measured ways to improve the lives of our constituents,” said NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chair Katie Hill. “From expanding and strengthening the Affordable Housing Tax Credit to encouraging the building of housing near transit stops, this slate of bills presents innovative solutions, which I’m proud to support.”

“Access to safe and affordable housing is essential to our quality of life. Unfortunately, housing prices continue to rise and middle-class families are being pushed out of the market. I’m proud that our Task Force has identified concrete steps Congress can take to boost the supply of housing and make housing attainable for more Utahns,” said NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chair Ben McAdams.

“In every community I represent, we are grappling with housing issues. We need more homes. We need more homes for seniors. We need more homes for low-income families. We need more homes for middle-class families. We need more homes – period,” said NDC Chair Derek Kilmer. “Given that clear need, I’m proud that our coalition is taking a lead on forward-looking, actionable solutions to begin to address our nation’s housing crisis.”

NDC Members will continue to engage with Members on both sides of the aisle, the Administration, stakeholders, and constituents to advance these bills and further address the factors that drive a lack of affordable housing across the country. 

“Our nation is facing a real and growing housing affordability crisis. In order to build the 328,000 apartments each year through 2030 that our country needs to keep up with demand, we must implement creative solutions. That’s why the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) supports this recently introduced legislation aimed at producing energy efficient, transit-oriented housing that is affordable. Additionally, we applaud Congress for its continued support of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which has helped build over 3 million apartment homes since its inception,” said Doug Bibby, President of National Multifamily Housing Council.

“NLIHC appreciates the leadership and attention that the New Democrat Coalition is putting towards our country’s affordable housing crisis,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Federal action to end homelessness and housing poverty is long overdue. The New Democrat’s support for legislation to expand and reform the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to better serve families with the greatest needs, and encourage local governments and the private sector do more to build market rate housing are important steps to addressing our nation’s affordable housing crisis. I look forward to working with Housing Task Force Co-Chairs Representatives Denny Heck, Katie Hill, and Ben McAdams on additional targeted and robust housing solutions for America’s lowest-income people, who are most severely impacted by the worsening housing crisis.”

“From the Missing Millions of Homes Report to the work of its Housing Task Force, the New Democrat Coalition and its members are some of strongest Congressional advocates for solutions to the housing crisis. The Coalition’s endorsement of four key housing bills – three of which are high on the list of Up for Growth Action’s legislative priorities – is the latest example of leadership on housing affordability. Up for Growth Action and its members look forward to working with the New Democrats to enact these bills and ensure that Congress no longer ignores a crisis that affects millions of American families,” said Mike Kingsella, Executive Director of Up for Growth Action.

“The National Association of Home Builders applauds the New Democrat Coalition on their efforts to prioritize and highlight the housing affordability crisis. It is essential that Congress incentivize and encourage more effective land development practices and local and state involvement to ensure all Americans have access to affordable rental and homeownership opportunities. NAHB will continue to work with the coalition to achieve this important goal,” said Greg Ugalde, National Association of Home Builders’ Chairman of the Board.