O’Regan Testifies at U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Hearing on Affordable Housing

News & Events | August 1st 2017

On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, Katherine M. O’Regan, Faculty Director at the NYU Furman Center and Professor Of Public Policy and Planning at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School Of Public Service, testified at the United States Senate Committee on Finance’s hearing on affordable housing.

The hearing, entitled, “America’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions,” was held as members consider the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, S. 548, which Committee member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced earlier this year. The proposed legislation would greatly expand the low-income housing tax credit program, the nation’s largest source of federal financing for the private production and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing.

Dr. O’Regan’s remarks outlined the extent of the nation’s affordable housing crisis and explored the consequences of escalating housing costs on households and markets. In discussing the federal government’s role in responding to the crisis, Dr. O'Regan outlined three proposed LIHTC reforms to “increase its flexibility and feasibility in a broader set of market conditions, to streamline, and to more effectively meet key policy goals.” In questions following the opening statements, she was asked by Senator Wyden (D-OR) about steps legislators could take to maximize the value of LIHTC to ensure that new housing is sited near ample transportation options, high-quality schools, and neighborhood services essential for low-income households.

Other witnesses testifying at the hearing included Daniel Garcia-Diaz, Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Grant Whitaker, President, National Council of State Housing Agencies; Kirk McClure, Professor, Urban Planning Program, School of Public Policy and Administration, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Kansas; and Granger MacDonald, Chairman of the Board of Directors, National Association of Home Builders.

Watch a video of the hearing, read Dr. O’Regan’s written statement, or follow the conversation on Twitter via #AffordableHousing.

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