United for Homes, an initiative to fund the National Housing Trust Fund with more than 1,000 organizational supporters, proposes supporting the National Housing Trust Fund with revenue from modifications to the mortgage interest deduction. United for Homes is calling on supporters to urge members of congress to co-sponsor HR 1213, The Common Sense Housing Investment Act, introduced by Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN). The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), it core partners from the National Housing Trust Fund campaign, and Right to the City launched United for Homes at NLIHC’s annual conference in March.
“Our proposal to fund the National Housing Trust Fund with revenue from modifications to the mortgage interest deduction is a common sense proposal that has garnered support from every corner of the country,” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of NLIHC . “Now is the time to end homelessness and to help communities across America to provide affordable homes for those who need it most. With United for Homes, we can achieve this together.”
The United for Homes proposal would limit the mortgage interest deduction (MID) to the first $500,000 of mortgage debt and convert it to a 15 percent non-refundable tax credit. The change would carefully target the tax benefit to where it is needed the most—low and middle income Americans—especially those who cannot itemize deductions and thus fail to benefit from the current tax law. Under this proposal, taxes will be reduced for 16 million American households with incomes of $100,000 or less per year. The proposed change to the MID would generate approximately $200 billion in savings in the first ten years, which the NLIHC proposal would invest into the National Housing Trust Fund.
NLIHC commissioned a poll in February 2013 which found that 74 percent of respondents believe the nation is not doing enough to end homelessness, and 76 percent support funding a federal government program to make more affordable rental housing available to low-income families. Proposals to modify the mortgage interest deduction also received broad support among respondents, with 60 percent supporting a cap, limiting the tax break or converting the deduction to a tax credit.
On April 12, the campaign launched the United for Homes website as a resource to advocates to help start conversations in communities across America about the urgency to invest in housing for people with the lowest incomes. Available on the website are:
- Tools that will help build support for the campaign, like a model resolution for a local government, and endorsement forms.
- Resources to help educate Members of Congress effectively.
- The latest research on the need for affordable housing and information on the impact of the housing tax reform proposal.
In addition to the website, the NLIHC outreach team is available to assist advocates advance the campaign, including sample social media posts and email templates. Please contact the Outreach Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
United for Homes is continuing to look at the obligation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to direct profits to the National Housing Trust Fund, as was stipulated in the 2008 legislation creating the National Housing Trust Fund. The potential funding generated by the GSE’s would result is less than $500 million annually, which is wholly inadequate for meeting the housing challenges in American communities. The campaign is also following the $1 billion proposed in the Administration’s FY 2014 budget. The Administration has proposed $1 billion in mandatory spending for the Housing Trust Fund in each of the past four years.
United for Homes is asking for supporters to take to three action steps: (1) Endorse United for Homes: To join more than 1000 national, state and local organizational endorsers, click here; (2) Tell your Member of Congress about the United for Homes campaign and ask him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 1213: To contact your legislator, click here; and (3) Become an informed and active advocate for the United for Homes campaign: For United for Homes materials and resources, click here.