MID Reforms: A Budget Neutral Way to Help Low-Income Americans Pay Rent or Mortgage

NLIHC CEO Diane Yentel Calls for MID Reforms to Help Lower Income Homeowners and Renters

National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel wrote in an op-ed in The Hill on October 9, “A budget neutral way to help low-income Americans pay for their rent or mortgage.”

In her op-ed, Ms. Yentel writes that the recently released Republican tax proposal leaves out reforms that would spur economic growth while providing vital housing assistance to those most in need.

Ms. Yentel recommends reforming the mortgage interest deduction (MID) and reinvesting the billions of dollars saved into rental housing solutions for the lowest income people in America.

Ms. Yentel calls for Congress to adopt the United for Homes (UFH) campaign tax reform proposals to invest in affordable housing for the lowest income renters without any additional cost to the federal government.

  • The UFH campaign would reduce the portion of a mortgage eligible for a tax break from $1 million to $500,000 – impacting fewer than 6% of mortgage holders nationwide – and
  • would convert the deduction to a non-refundable credit.
  • These changes would give additional tax relief to 25 million lower income homeowners and
  • save more than $240 billion over 10 years to be invested in affordable rental housing for those most in need.

“Affordable rental housing is essential to economic prosperity for all Americans,” writes Ms. Yentel. “The lowest income families can more easily climb the economic ladder when they live in areas connected to good schools, jobs, health care and transportation.”

Ms. Yentel notes that the MID is a massive tax expenditure that primarily benefits wealthy Americans who would be stably housed without the government’s assistance.

She calls tax reform is “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” for Congress to address homelessness and housing poverty in America.

United for Homes was created to end homelessness, help build a strong foundation and strengthen communities. Families-and especially children-who live in a stable, affordable homes have better health and education outcomes, have greater access to economic opportunities, and benefit from stronger communities.

United for Homes urges reform of the mortgage interest deduction (MID)-a $70 billion a year tax write-off that largely benefits America’s highest income families-and a reinvestment of the savings in housing that serves families with the greatest, clearest, most pressing needs through solutions like the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and rental assistance programs.

A budget neutral way to help low-income Americans pay for their rent or mortgage

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