The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission recently released its report recommending improvements to America’s federal housing programs. The recommendations propose scaling back the government role in the housing finance system and reforming housing assistance programs to better meet the needs of the most vulnerable households.
More specifically, the plan calls for reforms that would establish a new performance-based system for delivering federal rental assistance and short-term emergency assistance for lowest-income renters. The Housing Commission also recommends expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by 50 percent over current funding levels and additional federal gap financing funding measures to help with developing LIHTC properties. The commission furthermore suggests that additional federal funding is needed to address the capital needs of our current public housing stock in order to maintain affordability and improve housing quality for residents. The report seems to demonstrate that housing resources should be re-targeted to serve individuals and families at 30 percent of area median income (AMI) and below.
Given the current fiscal environment, the Housing Commission recommends that these improvements be phased in over time and overall suggests that federal homeownership policies could be modified in order to allow for an increased support for affordable rental housing.