UMB Gerontology Blog: Federal Tax Reform Puts Senior Affordable Housing in Danger

Dec 7, 2017

The growing number of older adults in Massachusetts and nationally are running up against a lack of affordable housing options and the situation is already in crisis mode, according to Len Fishman, director of the UMass Boston Gerontology Institute.

In the Gerontology Institute’s Blog, Fishman spotlights how the current affordable senior housing  crisis would be made worse by the US House of Representatives version of tax reform, which may force people out of communities where they have spent their lifetime in many cases.

As Fishman explains, “the most important remaining government program assisting the construction and preservation of affordable housing like that involves the tax-exempt private activity bonds and an accompanying 4 percent low-income housing tax credit.”

“The House tax bill,” Fishman writes,” would eliminate private activity bonds and accompanying tax credits—one of the last forms of government support making private investment in affordable housing for seniors possible. The Senate bill would leave the bonds and tax credits largely intact. It’s essential that a final bill preserves these critical tools to help us address the dire housing problem facing many of our most vulnerable citizens.”

In terms of local impact to Massachusetts, Fishman makes clear what is at stake: “MassHousing estimates that the loss of the 4 percent credit and other elements of the House bill would eliminate four of every five affordable units built or preserved in the state each year.”