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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shelby and Davis Sponsor State Housing Recover Measures


The Disaster State Housing Recovery Act, a measure to help fund the construction of shovel-ready affordable housing ventures in disaster-affected states like Alabama, was introduced today by U.S. Reps. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham and Charles Boustany, R-Louisiana, in the House and Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, and Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, in the Senate Tuesday.


The country is facing an affordable housing financing shortage and developers have found it difficult to monetize their Low-Income Housing Tax Credits in the midst of an economic downturn. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sought to resolve this issue by allowing states to exchange a portion of their credits for 85 cents on the dollar, providing an estimated $3 billion in grants to jumpstart stalled projects in 2009.

However, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is ambiguous about so-called “disaster credits” – extra housing credits allocated to thirteen states under the GO Zone Act of 2005 and the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008. According to Treasury, the law does not currently permit disaster credits to be included in this exchange. The Disaster State Housing Recovery Act will correct this inequity and allow disaster-affected states like Alabama to claim the benefits that Congress intended when it provided these special credits.

“The purpose of GO Zone is to help address the shortage of decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable rental housing in the areas that were adversely impacted during the 2005 hurricane season,” Shelby said. “Unfortunately, due to the current economic situation and credit crisis, GO Zone rental housing development plans have been halted. This legislation will ensure that project sponsors are allowed to exchange their GO Zone Housing Credits for cash grants so that they will be able to continue to construct affordable rental housing.”

“This common-sense legislation will boost affordable housing opportunities for Alabama families struggling in the midst of a very difficult economy,” said Congressman Davis. “It is essential that states like Alabama are able to access every available resource to stimulate the economy and encourage affordable housing options.”

States with GO Zone or Heartland Act credits include Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas and Wisconsin.


-- posted by Markeshia Ricks

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South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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