(Inman News Features) - A coalition of 26 housing and community development groups voiced its supported for President Bush's fiscal year 2003 budget proposal to create a new tax credit to help increase the supply of affordable homes built in low-income communities. The Community Homeownership Credit Coalition was formed to push for the enactment of a homeownership tax credit.

The President?s proposal would provide investors with a credit of up to 50 percent of project costs for eligible home rehabilitation or construction. The plan is modeled on the existing low-income housing tax credit.

"When enacted, this tax incentive will stimulate $5 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of approximately 40,000 to 50,000 homes in low-income communities each year," said Michael Rubinger, CEO of Local Initiatives Support Corp. "This marks a major step towards strengthening families and communities."

Supporters say the tax credit would help bridge the gap between the cost of developing affordable housing and the price at which homes can be sold in many lower-income neighborhoods.

The coalition members are CEOs for Cities, Coalition for Indian Housing and Development, The Enterprise Foundation, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Financial Services Roundtable, Habitat for Humanity International, Housing Assistance Council, The Housing Partnership Network, LISC, The McAuley Institute, Mortgage Bankers Association of America, National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, National Association of Counties, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, National Community Development Association, National Council of State Housing Agencies, National Association of Realtors, National Cooperative Bank/NCB Development Corp., National Council of La Raza, National Hispanic Housing Council, National Housing Conference, Stand Up for Rural America, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and United Way of America.