Neighborhood Homes Investment Act

This petition made change with 60 supporters!

Dear Senator Isakson,

On behalf of Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Georgia, we urge you to introduce the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA), tax legislation that would support Georgia’s community stabilization and revitalization needs by attracting private capital to neighborhoods in need of revitalization. 

Over the last decade, both Habitat and the federal government (sometimes in partnership) have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in revitalizing neighborhoods throughout the U.S., yet many are still struggling to recover from the housing crisis and Great Recession. Distressed neighborhoods throughout Georgia and across the country present a fundamental challenge to addressing poverty, crime, education, and economic mobility. Moderate- and middle-income families are essential to the social fabric and economic vitality of these neighborhoods, but many homes in distressed neighborhoods are too deteriorated or antiquated to attract and retain middle-income homeowners.  These neighborhoods are trapped in a cycle where property values are too low to support home construction and renovation.

The NHIA would revitalize distressed neighborhoods and break this cycle by bridging the gap between the cost of developing or rehabbing owner-occupied homes in distressed neighborhoods and their appraised values. The proposal would amend current law to permit states to exchange private activity bond cap for tax incentives under a formula similar to how states currently exchange bond cap for mortgage credit certificates. Credits would cover the portion of the construction and rehabilitation costs for single-family homes of income-eligible buyers (earn 140% median income or less) that exceed the fair value of the home (“the appraisal gap”).

The NHIA is a viable tool to address the needs of moderate and lower income families in struggling neighborhoods and to make these communities more livable and healthy again.  The tax credit would accomplish this by incentivizing private investment in the building and rehabilitation of owner-occupied homes through the construction and rehabilitation of homes sold to eligible buyers, and by supporting existing homeowners to undertake substantial renovations. The private market would bear construction and marketing risks, and tax credits could be claimed only after work has been satisfactorily completed and homes are owner-occupied.  The NHTC would be administered by state allocation agencies, to ensure that state and local priorities continue to be met.

Finally, the NHIA promises both to provide resources to Habitat affiliates to support their own construction activities and to draw broader investments in neighborhoods where many Habitat homeowners live. Now is the time to support middle-class homeowners and organizations like Habitat that have made significant investments in their homes and communities, but due to circumstances beyond their control have seen their home values plummet and their neighborhoods stagnate or deteriorate. 

Thank you for your consideration and longtime support of Habitat for Humanity’s work. We are confident that with your leadership, this proposal would have significant chance of implementation.

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