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Lawmakers have proposed a federal tax credit that would fuel the rehabilitation of deteriorated single-family homes in distressed neighborhoods.

Introduced by Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA) seeks to build on the success of the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) for multifamily housing properties.

It gets to the core of a challenging problem: Many distressed neighborhoods have a large number of single-family homes, says Buzz Roberts, president and CEO of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders.

“Revitalizing those neighborhoods without dealing with those homes is very difficult,” he says, noting that it’s a problem that the LIHTC and New Markets Tax Credit aren’t able to address.

The proposed credit (H.R. 3316) seeks to make deals in struggling neighborhoods feasible. In many communities, the cost for developers to acquire and rehab blighted properties or build new homes exceeds what they could earn when they sell the homes, explain bill supporters.

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