District of Columbia

Mayor Bowser Seeks to Rectify House Tax Bill's Impact on Affordable Housing

The creation and maintenance of affordable housing developments may be at risk amid passage of the House of Representative’s tax bill, News4’s Tom Sherwood reports.

Delta Towers, a Section 8 housing facility devoted to seniors ages 55 and up, is an example of a development that would be affected by the House’s tax bill. Its 147 Northeast D.C. units are more than 40 years old and falling into disrepair.

The complex is currently in line for millions of dollars in federally subsidized housing funds, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

Federal subsidies would help build a new Delta Towers with 179 units on the development’s side lot; however, the funds could disappear if the Republican tax bill goes into effect.

“The biggest piece of financing for this goes away if the tax bill moves forward as planned,” said Corey Powell, a member of the Delta Towers development team.

Bowser said she plans to rectify this projected deficit in affordable housing by expediting the issuance of tax-exempt private activity bonds (PABs), she said Monday.

Bowser’s administration is issuing a record $500 million in housing construction bonds before the end of December to fund thousands of new units, she said Monday. Delta Towers is included in her project.

Before the Republican tax bill was drafted, Bowser’s administration committed about $100 million per year on affordable housing bonds. Now, because the tax benefits associated with PABs used for low-income housing could be eliminated, Bowser is seeking to deliver the funds all at once, instead of over time.

“We are not going to wait to see what happens to affordable housing,” Bowser said.

The District of Columbia's Housing Finance Agency anticipates that this expedited influx of funds will preserve its ability to leverage tax-exempt bonds for affordable housing development through the year 2020, as permitted by the House-passed tax bill.

This would allow for the production or preservation of 4,000 units of affordable housing, Bowser said in a press release.

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