The ambitious proposal would help to bridge the widening gap between wages and housing costs by creating a new refundable tax credit for low income renters who face impossible choices between paying rent and meeting other basic needs.
The refundable renters’ credit would cover the difference between what the household can afford – 30% of their income – and their rent capped at 100% of public housing authorities’ Fair Market Rents.
The bill also requires entities receiving federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to pursue inclusive local zoning strategies, such as new unit-development policies, programs, or regulatory initiatives. In doing so, the bill expands and targets federal resources to make homes affordable for those with the lowest incomes and greatest needs, while also requiring local governments and the private sector to do better for the middle class.
The “Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity HOME Act” (S.3342) introduced by Senator Booker would provide a refundable tax credit for renters whose income is at or less than 80% of area median. The tax credit would cover the difference between what the household can afford – 30% of their income – and their rent and utilities capped at 100% of fair market rent.
Senator Booker’s bill would also require local governments and the private sector to build more housing affordable to the middle class.
Under the proposal, local governments receiving Community Development Block Grant funds would be required to address regulatory and zoning barriers that drive up housing costs and restrict the ability of the private sector to build more rental homes for the middle class.