It is getting more difficult than ever to rent a home or apartment in the United States. Rental rates are on the rise, and according to an article from Bloomberg.com, “it has been more than 15 years since Congress increased funding for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the government’s primary method for encouraging construction of affordable housing.” Bloomberg states that “there are 3.9 million low-income households that lack access to affordable housing” and “the number of U.S. households spending 50 percent of their income on rent could increase to 15 million by 2025”.
Rental rates are high, fewer people are buying houses (The New York Times) and demand for affordable housing is increasing at a fast pace; so why has there not been a bigger push to increase spending on LIHTC programs? It seems although more people are moving towards a lifestyle of renting instead of buying, the government’s focus is usually towards promoting home ownership (Bloomberg.com). Even though this seems to be the case, some effort to promote spending towards affordable housing is still being made. “On Thursday (March 24, 2016), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is to announce a plan that calls for Congress to spend 50 percent more on the program, enough to build as many as 400,000 homes over the next decade” Bloomberg reports. The plan, while ambitious, wouldn’t exactly make a huge impact in the previously mentioned 3.9 million households that lack access to affordable housing. With that number assured to continue to increase in the foreseeable future, the need for LIHTC funded programs has never been greater.