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Neguse introduces pair of affordable housing bills

June 26, 2019, 10:59 am

As local and state officials focus on affordable housing policy in Gypsum Thursday during Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley’s Legislative Build Day, the congressman who represents the eastern third of Eagle County in Washington is moving federal legislation on the issue.

U.S. Rep, Joe Neguse, the Boulder Democrat who followed Gov. Jared Polis as the congressman for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, introduced a housing package this week aimed at ensuring low-income housing fairness and cutting government red tape. Here’s the full press release from the Neguse office on the two bills introduced this week:

Congressman Neguse Introduces Legislative Package to Protect Affordable Housing

Washington, D.C.— This week, Representative Joe Neguse, introduced a bicameral legislative package to ensure fair, equitable policies on affordable housing contracts. The two bills, the Save Affordable Housing Act and the Affordable HOUSE Act change existing rules for properties constructed with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to cut red tape and preserve America’s commitment to providing affordable housing.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse

“Across the 2nd district, securing affordable housing is a critical priority for many of my constituents. As our communities expand and grow, far too many are being priced out of our city limits and are being forced to live farther away from work,” said Congressman Joe Neguse.“This legislative package will ensure commitments to affordable housing are preserved for Americans across the country by cutting red tape and ensuring the commitment of Housing Credit properties. I’m proud to lead on this bipartisan effort in the U.S. House and look forward to continuing the work alongside our local partners.”

The Affordable HOUSE Act removes the current rule that prohibits property acquisition for affordable housing use in the first 10 years of the property’s ownership. This policy fix is crucial to increase affordable housing availability and preserve properties in need of rehabilitation and affordability. regardless of when they were placed in service.

“This legislation is essential to allow affordable housing providers to focus on acquiring properties that best serve low income residents and our local communities,” said Jeremy Durham, Executive Director of Boulder Housing Partners (BHP).“Specifically, this allows us to acquire properties that are a good value and are located adjacent to community amenities and public transit, rather than being forced to focus on the relatively arbitrary requirement that a property be owned by the same party for at least ten years.”

“The resources needed to create affordable housing are significant and on-going. This bill would extend the useful life our affordable housing and further the impact of Low Income Tax Credits,” said Kurt Firnhaber, Boulder Director for Housing and Human Services.

The second bill, Save Affordable Housing Act is bipartisan legislation will protect the 30-year affordability commitment of housing financed by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). Currently, Housing Credit properties are subject to a minimum 30-year affordability period. As the law currently stands, owners are permitted to pursue a Qualified Contract, which most often results in the ability for properties to convert to market rate after just 15 years. The Save Affordable Housing Act would prevent the premature loss of affordable housing and ensure that Housing Credit properties remains affordable for at least 30 years, as Congress intended, thereby fulfilling the program’s commitment to serve low-income Americans.

“We support this legislation as it aligns with a key strategy of our city that preserves existing housing stock towards permanent affordability,” said Kurt Firnhaber, Boulder Director for Housing and Human Services.Inthe current housing market, there shouldn’t be obstacles that limit our opportunities to preserving existing housing stock.  This bill supports needed changes to allow more affordable housing within our existing communities.”

“This is important legislation for anyone who lives in affordable housing because residents need to know their home is stable. As a country, we need to preserve as much existing affordable housing as possible. This is not the time to be losing affordable housing stock, yet that is exactly what is happening,” said Masyn Moyer, Chairwoman of the Boulder Housing Advisory Board.

Congressman Joe Neguse also serves as the Vice Chair of Housing and Transportation for the Majority Leader Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. 

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