San Diego officials gathered Monday to oppose a congressional bill that would take away some key financing for affordable housing.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or H.R. 1, would take away two essential sources of funding for affordable housing developments: the low income housing tax credits and multifamily housing revenue bonds, according to a statement from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation in San Diego.
California Senator Ben Hueso said over 10,500 families in San Diego have benefitted from affordable housing developments, and it would be a tragedy for the programs to be cut.
"We need everyone's help out there to lift their phoone and call your congressperson and demand them to not support this measure," said Hueso.
San Diego Councilmember Chris Ward said cutting funds would exacerbate San Diego’s homeless crisis.
“San Diego faces a critical shortage of both affordable and market rate housing,” said Ward. “While confronting homelessness head-on, any reform or reduction to these programs would devastate affordable housing production, which is critical for working families, seniors, veterans and so many other disadvantaged communities.”
The low income housing tax credits program helps provide affordable housing by encouraging developers to set aside housing units for the homeless. The program provides financing for approximately 100,000 affordable homes each year, according to the San Diego Housing Commission.
Multifamily housing revenue bonds are tax exempt bonds that developers use to provide below-market financing for low-income homebuyers and affordable rent to low-income families, according to the National Council of State Housing Agencies.
The initiative from Washington to remove the two programs is a potentially crushing blow to all the city council and mayor have been working toward in addressing the homeless crisis, said San Diego Councilmember Barbara Bry in a statement.
While officials worry that the removal of the federally funded programs could increase homelessness in San Diego, developers draw attention to the social ramifications.
"We don't regard it as a politically divisive issue," said Ricardo Flores, Executive Director of the Local Initiatives Support Organization. "Instead, it has to do with retaining San Diego's urban quality of life. We stand firmly with our fellow affordable housing and homeless advocates to declare that any move by Congress to kill the low-income housing tax credit will significantly increase homelessness here in San Diego."
Flores said another potential outcome of the bill is a worsening of Hepatitis A outbreaks in the future.