Policy Experts Weigh Impact of an Uncertain Political Landscape on Housing Policy

On May 22, CHAPA held a breakfast forum on “Doing Business in Times of Uncertainty.” The forum featured remarks by Chrystal Kornegay from DHCD and Tim Sullivan from MassHousing on their collaborative efforts to provide funding for an array of affordable housing projects, from the current tax credit rental round; to the Community Scale Housing Initiative for projects of 5-20 units; to MassHousing’s commitment of $100 million for workforce housing, for families whose incomes are too high for subsidized housing, but are priced out of market rents.  A roundtable of public and private housing leaders discussed how the political context for affordable housing is different than in prior years, and provided insights into the legislative machinations in Washington, D.C.

The federal Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Bill maintained funding for housing programs in the HUD budget.  Given the demonstrated support for programs like CDBG and HOME, there is some hope that the deep cuts proposed by President Trump in the FY18 budget will not be adopted, but some cuts are likely.  The fate of tax legislation is uncertain.  While a reduction in corporate tax rates, if enacted, will impact the pricing on the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program, the sense of the presenters is that the rate will get nowhere near the 15% tax rate proposed by Trump.  They noted that the LIHTC, along with the New Market Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit, have strong bipartisan support.