In Spokane, Cantwell Calls on Colleagues to Pass Low-Income Housing Bill That Awaits Crucial Senate Vote

Expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit would help WA add 1.7k more affordable housing units this year alone; Cantwell-championed housing program just one step from final passage after being overwhelmingly approved by House

SPOKANE, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown, affordable housing advocates, and current tenants for a press conference at Mother Teresa Haven in Spokane calling on the Senate to pass critical legislation to address the urgent need for housing across the country.

In her remarks, Sen. Cantwell advocated for her Senate colleagues to pass the bipartisan tax package that would significantly boost the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Mother Teresa Haven, a 48-unit affordable housing complex, used the LIHTC program to fund 70% of the overall project cost.

“Spokane is growing, and that puts more pressure on the need for affordable housing," Sen. Cantwell said. "For those who are on a very fixed income, [more supply] can mean the difference between having a roof over your head and not. And that is why in Spokane -- just like the rest of Washington state -- we have to be very vigilant about building more supply."

"We need to do our part. And if we do, we will build over 200,000 new units nationwide in the next two years, and we will build 7,000 additional units, [in addition] to the 10,000 we would normally build here in Washington state over the next two years. So that would be a real boost into the arm of our state to these residents, to our economy and families," Sen. Cantwell continued. "Now we just need the Senate to do its job and [...] get this done.”

Following the press conference, Sen. Cantwell joined a tour of the apartments available at Mother Teresa Haven; video of that tour can be viewed HERE and photos are available HERE. A transcript of her remarks is HERE.

Sen. Cantwell has long advocated for the need to increase the availability of affordable housing and is the leading LIHTC advocate in the Senate. More information about Sen. Cantwell’s work to include an expansion to the LIHTC program in the bipartisan tax package is available HERE.

The House passed the bipartisan tax package on Jan. 31. Once the legislation is approved by the Senate and signed by President Biden, these improvements to the LIHTC program would fund an additional 1,700 units of affordable housing in Washington state in 2024 alone.


Since 1986, the Housing Credit has paid for 90% of the federally-funded affordable housing construction across the country, and has financed over 3.8 million affordable homes, including more than 100,000 in Washington state.

Legislation approved by the House last month lowers the requirement for bond funding from 50% of a project to 30% of a project for developers to receive the tax credit, marking the first reduction in the bond test in 35 years. According to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, this will allow the state to issue millions more worth of bonds and build nearly twice as many units as expected -- an additional 1,500 units of housing financed in 2024.

The package also restores a 12.5% tax incentive increase that originally expired in 2021. According to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, this improvement will allow Washington state to fund 222 more affordable apartment units in 2024, and 600-650 units over three years. The increase will help the state allocate more funding for housing for the lowest income and most vulnerable people in Washington state, especially the homeless.

Since its creation, the Housing Credit has helped build or restore over 100,000 affordable homes in the State of Washington. The economic activity that the credit generated has supported nearly 170,000 jobs and generated more than $19 billion in wages.