Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?
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Among the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Housing Commission’s proposals for creating a balanced housing policy, one stands out as the most critical in meeting the needs of low-income renters. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) is responsible for virtually all affordable apartment development, and BPC’s recommendation to expand it by 50 percent recognizes its unmatched record of success and the increasing need for the program in today’s housing landscape.
According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, there is a 6.4 million-unit gap between the number of low-income renters who need affordable housing and the number of affordable apartments available. A recent HUD study also shows that a record 8.5 million very low-income families have worst case housing needs (paying over half of their incomes in rent and/or living in severely inadequate housing) in 2011, representing a steady increase since 2007. The BPC’s recommendation is our best hoping of narrowing this affordable supply gap by creating up to 400,000 new units over ten years.