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President Trump signed off on a $1.3 trillion spending bill on Friday, one that CityLab writer Kriston Capps says will boost the housing industry, which had previously been threatened with budget cuts:

  • Housing tax credits get a big boost: The nation’s most effective incentive for building affordable housing is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, which took a major (albeit indirect) hit in the tax bill: The cut in the corporate tax rate diminished the housing tax credit’s allure to investors. The omnibus bill addresses that damage by boosting allocation levels by 12.5 percent over the next four years. Plus, the omnibus permanently tweaks the income formula used to determine what counts as an affordable development for tax credit purposes. In essence, this means that families with higher income levels will be eligible for affordable housing—the idea being that their incomes will offset households with much, much lower incomes.
  • Homeless assistance sees an uptick: Funding levels for HUD’s McKinney–Vento Homelessness Assistance Grants program increased by $130 million over fiscal year 2017 levels—enough to help house 25,000 more people, according to the National Alliance To End Homelessness.
  • Housing programs on the chopping block get rescued: Two programs that the White House proposed eliminating entirely are instead getting significant injections. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program budget increased from $950 million to $3.3 billion. Community Development Block Grants funds grew from $3 billion to $3.3 billion. Both of those programs are designed to help communities find local solutions for housing vulnerable families. “It’s exciting to see that Congress is responding to calls from constituents around the country to address the gap between what people can afford with their wages and what rents really cost,” says Marion McFadden, former deputy assistant secretary at HUD and current vice president of policy at Enterprise Community Partners.
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