Legislation to expand federal tax credit program gains bipartisan support

By: Mia Watson

The federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) has had an enormous impact in Vermont. Since 1986, federal housing tax credits allocated through Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) have helped build over 7,400 homes for low-income families. The program also benefits the Vermont economy, supporting over 8,000 jobs per year and leveraging millions of dollars in private investment for affordable rental housing. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA), currently under consideration in Congress, would expand the credit by 50%.

AHCIA was first introduced in 2018, and although it was not enacted, Congress did expand the credit by 12.5%. The reintroduced AHCIA aims to build on this success, and advocates believe that the bill has a strong chance of being enacted. The 2019 ACHIA has been co-sponsored by over a quarter of the Senators and one third of House members from both parties, which is extremely rare.  All of Vermont’s congressional delegation are co-sponsors, with Vermont the first state to hit that milestone.

If passed, AHCIA would enable the creation of an estimated 861 additional affordable homes in Vermont over the next ten years. The bill also adds incentives for serving homeless and extremely low-income families and developing more homes in rural areas.

AHCIA would dramatically expand Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA)’s ability to help Vermonters most in need of housing assistance. Currently, tenants in VHFA-subsidized apartments earn a median income of just $16,702 annually, compared to $33,949 for all Vermont renters. VHFA’s apartments also connect homeless, at-risk, elderly and disabled Vermonters with supportive services to help them live safely and independently.