Jefferson City, MO — On February 20th, 2020, Empower Missouri, along with more than 100 other individuals and organizations, signed and delivered a letter to Governor Parson and House and Senate leadership encouraging them to re-institute the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) statewide match.
Missouri has a dire shortage of affordable and available rental housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that 113,015 extremely low income households (those earning 30% Area Median Income or lower) in Missouri are unable to secure housing that is affordable to them. Our state must invest in solutions to alleviate this affordable housing crisis. As well, Missouri is estimated to lose over 10,000 affordable homes in the coming months. Without a statewide match, the production of affordable housing has also slowed.
“We understand the budget constraints Missouri faces,” said Sarah Owsley Townsend, “However, affordable housing is key to many statewide priorities. Either we invest on the front end, or we pay out on the back end with increased need for homeless services and higher healthcare costs.”
The letter includes suggested reforms for the statewide match program, such as a change that would see preference given to developers who partner with not-for-profit service providers, with the non-profit organization as majority owner. Other suggestions state that Missouri should follow the lead of other states and incentivize (by scoring higher points) a 30-year compliance period, and targeting units to people with low incomes.
“Whether one is able to obtain accessible, safe, and affordable housing is one of the most important determinants of health outcomes,” said Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri. “It is not in Missouri’s self-interest for lawmakers to further delay investment in production of affordable housing units or to fail to seek revenue solutions for additional appropriations that are needed to solve our housing crisis.”
Empower Missouri (www.EmpowerMissouri.org) is a statewide not-for-profit advocating for the well-being of Missourians through civic leadership, education, and research. Founded as the Missouri Conference on Charities and Corrections in 1901, Empower Missouri has operated under four names in its 119-year history, but always with a focus on access to basic human needs and basic fairness.