Cantwell, Local Officials, Housing Advocates Push for New Federal Resources to Address Affordable Housing Crisis in Vancouver
Officials cut ribbon on apartments uniquely designed for homeless youth, those aging out of foster care; In Washington, Cantwell legislation would build more than 9,700 new affordable housing units, provide more than 11,000 jobs
VANCOUVER – Today, as communities across Washington continue to experience the affordable housing crisis, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined local officials and housing advocates in Vancouver to push for new federal resources to address the worsening crisis and better support at-risk and underserved communities. At the event, participants cut ribbon on Caples Terrace Apartments, a housing complex built by the Vancouver Housing Authority for homeless youth and those aging out of foster care.
“I’m so excited to be part of the Caples Terrace ribbon cutting because it is focusing on the issue of homeless and unaccompanied youth who are aging out of the foster care system. These young adults are the ages 18 to 24, who have very limited resources but need available housing. And so Caples Terrace will serve these people and help them build self-sufficiency skills,” Senator Cantwell said. “Projects like this really do help our communities in providing resources to help families. That is why we’re here also to say that we need an additional increase in the affordable housing tax credit.”
In June, Cantwell introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019 to expand and strengthen the Affordable Housing Tax Credit (also known as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit) to produce more units of affordable housing and better serve at-risk and underserved communities. The Affordable Housing Tax Credit would create roughly 1.9 million new affordable housing units over the next decade – with more than 550,000 new units because of this legislation – including more than 9,700 in Washington state.
Roy Johnson, the Executive Director of Vancouver Housing Authority praised Senator Cantwell’s work to bring more affordable housing to the region. “She has been a champion for expanding affordable housing in Washington and across the country. We have been the benefactors of that in Clark County,” Johnson said. “Last year she successfully expanded and improved the low income housing tax credits by providing the first increase in over a decade. In the next four years, Washington State will be able to build over 25,000 new affordable homes due to the credit, including 700 additional units thanks to Cantwell’s efforts last year.”
Overall, the Cantwell legislation would help build more than 9,700 new affordable housing units in Washington over ten years, in addition to the hundreds of units built each year through the program. The bill will also provide more than 11,000 jobs and add over $1 billion to the Washington economy in wages and business income.
In recent years, Washington state has experienced a severe housing affordability crisis. Between 2006 and 2015, the median income in the state increased three percent, but the median rent increased by 18%. More than 450,000 households – or nearly 17% of all households in the state – spend more than 30% of their monthly income on rent, and nearly 220,000 of these households pay more than half of their monthly income. These statistics are even more drastic among extremely low-income renters in the state – 71% pay more half or more of their monthly income on rent.
“When you don’t have the supply, the demand for housing drives up the price to even greater levels. That’s why we decided to redouble our efforts and go back to Congress this year and ask for a 50% increase in the affordable housing tax credit. That would help build over 9,700 units here in Washington state,” Cantwell said.
Across the United States, the expanded Affordable Housing Tax Credit would produce roughly 1.9 million new affordable housing units over the next decade, an increase of over 550,000 more units than would be built without the legislation.
Here’s how many units of affordable housing the Affordable Housing Tax Credit has built in each Washington county since the tax credit was created in 1986.
Senator Cantwell’s bipartisan plan to expand and strengthen the Affordable Housing Tax Credit is just the latest step in her campaign to provide more affordable housing throughout the country. Last year, she successfully secured a nearly $3 billion down payment toward addressing the affordable housing crisis, helping to build over 28,000 units and support an additional 32,000 jobs.
A fact sheet on Senator Cantwell’s Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019 is available HERE.
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