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Welch champions legislation to stimulate construction of affordable housing

June 13, 2014
Press Release

Congressman Peter Welch visited an affordable housing renovation project in Burlington this afternoon to highlight his legislation (H.R. 4717) to improve the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and stimulate the development and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing in Vermont. Welch was joined at the Bobbin Mill Apartments by Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and leaders from Vermont's affordable housing community.

Every Vermonter should have the peace of mind that comes with safe and affordable housing, said Welch. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit has been a critical tool in financing the development of affordable housing in Vermont and across the country. While the credit has worked well, it needs to be updated to provide more predictability to housing agencies and developers.

Last year, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) spurred $23million in affordable housing financing through public-private partnerships. Since the program's enactment in 1988, LIHTC has financed 5,800 affordable apartments across the state and created 6,700 jobs. Several key provisions of the law began to expire at the end of 2013.

The lack of housing is one of Burlington's largest challenges, said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. Thank you to Congressman Welch for fighting for more housing resources for Vermonters.

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit program is the largest affordable housing capital source we have available, said Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency which administers the tax credit. Under current complex tax rules, these credits provide an estimated $23 million dollars in private equity to build and renovate affordable housing, like the Bobbin Mill Apartments. HR 4717 improves the operation of the tax credits to provide predictability to developers and investors and could provide over a 20 percent increase in the equity available for much needed housing. Any increase will reduce the strain on the other limited and diminishing housing resources. If this legislation had been in place when Bobbin Mill was completed, it would have resulted in an additional $1.4 million in tax credit equity investment and relieved pressure on city and state resources.