Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan recently led a coalition of nearly 50 bipartisan mayors representing 21 states and the District of Columbia in a letter urging Congress to pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019. The bipartisan Housing Credit legislation, introduced by United States Senator Maria Cantwell and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene, would result in more than half a million new affordable homes nationwide over the next decade.
“The City of Seattle is making historic investments in affordable housing, and expanding this resource would give the City significantly more resources to invest in affordable housing in every part of our city,” said Durkan. “The Housing Credit is a critical tool that helps cities like Seattle continue the kind of public-private partnerships we need to truly address our affordable housing crisis. I am grateful to Senator Cantwell and Representative DelBene for their work to make affordable housing a top priority in the other Washington.”
“The affordable housing crisis in the United States is not a new issue, but the magnitude of the problem is getting worse, and we need to respond by helping to increase the supply,” said Cantwell. “More than 90% of the affordable housing that gets built gets built with the Affordable Housing Tax Credit, so we need to increase the amount of credit available federally. I couldn’t be more proud to work with mayors from our region and across the country to try to solve this problem.”
Since taking office, Durkan has acted urgently to combat our affordable housing crisis. The Mayor and the Office of Housing recently announced that the City of Seattle will invest $110 million to create 1,944 new affordable homes in neighborhoods across Seattle, the largest investment and the largest number of affordable homes ever created in Seattle in one year in our City’s history. The 2019 funds invested through the City’s Office of Housing will support the construction of thirteen new buildings in Seattle across a range of communities, including seniors, low-wage workers and families, and people experiencing homelessness.
For every dollar the City invests in housing, the City of Seattle currently leverages at least three dollars from other sources, largely through the Housing Credit. The Housing Credit is in part what allowed the Seattle Office of Housing to invest nearly $1.5 billion with our partners over the last three years to create 4,000 affordable homes.
Nationally, the Housing Credit has financed the development or preservation of 3.2 million affordable homes. In addition to financing virtually all affordable housing development today, the Housing Credit provides economic benefits and creates jobs. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would provide a much-needed investment in our nation’s housing infrastructure, while also generating $48.5 billion in wages and business income, $19.1 billion in additional tax revenue, and 510,000 jobs.
In addition to Senator Cantwell and Representative DelBene, the legislation’s lead sponsors are U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and U.S. Representative Kenny Marchant (R, TX-24).