The Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC) held its annual Housing Day in Annapolis today. The event brings together over 200 affordable rental housing advocates to inform legislators of the value of affordable housing and funding needs to continue to develop and rehabilitate affordable housing in Maryland. Housing Day also provides the opportunity to hear from State representatives regarding current issues and legislation related to the affordable housing industry. During today’s program, many State elected and appointed officials emphasized the need to continue to think creatively to meet the increasing demand for affordable housing in Maryland – including the opportunity to focus on work force housing.
A priority of the 2018 Housing Day was to advocate for increased funding for Rental Housing Works (RHW), subordinate gap financing used solely for projects utilizing 4% low-income housing tax credits and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Multifamily Bond Program. The Governor’s current budget proposes funding RHW at $20 million, but MAHC is advocating for a $5 million increase in this amount to $25 million in order to keep up with the demand for this popular financing. MAHC notes that for every $1 invested in RHW generates nearly $11 in new public and private investments and each RHW project creates 174 jobs. We heard from a number of elected officials regarding the value of speaking about RHW projects that have closed in their districts and the linked map provides a snapshot of the impact of RHW within each Maryland County.
Turning to the national stage, Molly Bryson, a Partner at Ballard Spahr, provided attendees of the 2018 Housing Day with an update on the need to continue to advocate for the expansion and enhancement of the federal low-income housing tax credit through the passage of the Cantwell-Hatch Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S.548) in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives companion bill (H.R.1661 – Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017). The Cantwell-Hatch Act was recently included in the Senate’s initial version of the budget bill, but it unfortunately did not make it into the House’s approved budget bill. Continued outreach is needed to keep up the momentum of this important legislation.
Ballard Spahr will continue to monitor both Maryland and federal legislation related to affordable housing and provide updates in future blog posts.