SAHF Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan 'The Save Affordable Housing Act'

Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) applauds the bipartisan group of Representatives and Senators for their efforts in developing and introducing The Save Affordable Housing Act of 2019, a crucial piece of legislation needed to preserve irreplaceable affordable rental housing serving low-income families. This bill will make a correction to Qualified Contract provision in Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code to stem the loss of thousands of affordable homes annually from affordability restrictions and enable mission-driven nonprofits to maintain the affordability of Housing Credit properties for the long-term, as Congress intended. The Save Affordable Housing Act was introduced both the Senate and the House.

Under current law, an owner of a Housing Credit property at Year 14 or after may require the state Housing Credit allocating agency to find them a buyer who is willing to purchase the property at the “qualified contract” price. In the vast majority of circumstances, the qualified contract price, which is set by statute, far exceeds market value for the property as restricted by the affordability requirements. If the state agency is unable to find a buyer — which, in most instances, is due to the inflated qualified contract price — the property must be released from its affordability commitments. Recent analyses from the National Council of State Housing Agencies indicate that the Qualified Contract process is resulting in the premature loss of well over 10,000 low-income units annually. As of 2017, approximately 50,000 units nationwide have already been lost, and in that year alone, owners served notice to state allocating agencies that they wanted to begin the Qualified Contract process on additional properties comprising approximately 18,000 units.

Read more about the current issues with the Qualified Contract provision and how the new legislation would help to address these issues.

The Senate bill was introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-WA) and Todd Young (R-IN) and the House bill was introduced by Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO-02), Don Beyer (D-VA-08) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02). Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Senators Wyden and Young as original cosponsors of the Senate bill. NCSHA strongly supports this legislation. We appreciate the leadership of these legislators to champion this bill.

The Housing Credit is our nation’s most successful tool for financing the production and preservation of affordable rental housing. Since its creation in 1986, it has financed approximately 3.2 million affordable apartments, providing homes to roughly 7.4 million low-income households. By correcting the QC provision, The Save Affordable Housing Act of 2019 would ensure that both current and future affordable housing properties financed by the Housing Credit fulfill the program’s 30-year affordability commitment.

"SAHF strongly supports the Save Affordable Housing Act and is grateful for the leadership of  Senators Wyden and Young and Representatives Neguse, Beyer, and Walorski in introducing this vital piece of housing preservation legislation.  A safe and stable home is the platform for a life of opportunity and dignity, but far too many people struggle to afford a safe place to call home. The Save Affordable Housing Act helps provide sustainable rental  homes by ensuring that the properties financed with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit will remain available as affordable rental homes for at least thirty years. This important legislation will improve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and is a necessary step in addressing the nation’s  critical lack of affordable housing," said Eileen Fitzgerald, SAHF's President and CEO.

SAHF is grateful to its partners who worked together to advocate for the legislation, including SAHF member National Housing Trust, Enterprise Community Partners, Housing Partnership Network, Local Initiatives Support Corporation/National Equity Fund, Low Income Investment Fund, National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, National Association of State and Local Equity Funds, National Council of State Housing Agencies, National Housing Conference, and the National Housing Law Project.

About SAHF

Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) is a nonprofit collaborative of thirteen exemplary multi-state nonprofit affordable housing providers and the National Affordable Housing Trust (NAHT), a Low Income Housing Tax Credit syndicator. SAHF members own more than 141,000 affordable rental homes nationwide. Drawing on their deep experience, members come together to anticipate the future, increase impact, and challenge one another. SAHF co-creates solutions grounded in business realities and advocates for quality rental homes. We work within our industry and across sectors to disseminate our learnings.