2017 was a rollercoaster year for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit industry, culminating in the December passage of the first major tax legislation in over 30 years. While the LIHTC program was preserved, the lower corporate tax rate significantly reduced the capital flowing into projects. A week before I drafted this letter, the Omnibus FY 2018 spending bill passed with a temporary increase in the LIHTC program thanks to the leadership of Senator Maria Cantwell, other friends in Congress, and the hard work of advocates around the country. This will help, but further increases are critical to meet the rental housing crisis.
Despite the market disruption since late 2016, last year was successful for NASLEF members. NASLEF members raised over $1 B to finance the development of approximately 10,000 homes in communities all across America. The 12 NASLEF organizations are active in 41 states where our leadership in affordable housing advocacy, connection with community organizations, and knowledge of local markets creates high quality, strategic community investments, especially in underserved markets.
We had a wonderful conference last fall in Indianapolis hosted by Cinnaire and look forward to our 2018 conference in Boston hosted by the Massachusetts Housing Investment Fund.
Over the years, NASLEF members have grown, diversified and found new ways to serve their development and investment partners, residents and communities. New Market Tax Credits, loan products, enhanced technical assistance and training and philanthropic grants are just some of the expanded services members offer. Additionally, each organization is actively engaged in state and local housing and community development initiatives.
Collectively NASLEF members represent about 10% of the national Housing Credit market, having raised and invested nearly $14.5B in affordable housing and $1.2B in other community and economic developments. While much has been accomplished, significant challenges remain. We continue to lose affordable housing from our nation’s stock at a time when more than one in four renter households in the U.S. – roughly 11 million – spends more than half of their income on rent, leaving too little for other necessities like food, medical care, and transportation.
The Housing Credit is the key federal resource to increase the supply of affordable housing and recapitalize existing affordable developments. Administered on the state level, this program has shown to be flexible and resilient with a long track record of success and few failures. State designed allocation plans work well with NASLEF members’ focus on local needs and relationships. NASLEF has and will continue to work with others to preserve and expand the housing credit during the debates on comprehensive tax reform. NASLEF will continue to be a local presence with national impact on affordable housing.
We look forward to working with our local and national partners in 2018!