The House of Representatives voted November 18  to approve the “Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion economic recovery package that includes more than $150 billion in affordable housing investments. Thanks to our Housing Oregon members and supporters for contacting their U.S. Congressional Representatives, especially those who reached out to Representative Kurt Schrader, reminding them how critical this investment is.

This is an extraordinary milestone – but more work is needed and lobbyists for “Aggregators” are actively trying to weaken changes to the Right of First Refusal which benefit nonprofit developers. Email and call your Senators, where the bill faces likely changes and cannot pass without securing the support of every single Democratic senator.

The bill includes:

  • $25 billion to expand rental assistance to over 300,000 households
  • $65 billion to preserve the nation’s deteriorating public housing infrastructure
  • $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes.

The bill also includes New Housing Credit provisions including temporarily increasing the annual Housing Credit allocation by 10 percent per year through 2024 and lowers the bond-financing threshold from 50 percent to 25 percent through 2026 to enable housing credit deals to unlock more 4% credits. Lowering this threshold is significant in our state as Oregon Housing and Community Services has announced future 4% credits will need to be competitive. Proposed changes will allow OHCS to stretch this resource further.

Thanks to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s advocacy, the bill strengthens the right of first refusal (ROFR) safe harbor and rolling back the Qualified Contract. Lastly, the bill provides a permanent 50 percent boost for LIHTC buildings that designate at least 20% of their occupied units for extremely low-income tenants and limit rent to no more than 30% of the greater – 30% of area median income or the federal poverty line.