Renters’ Tax Credit: A Viable Tool for Affordable Housing
By Lisa Schliff
Nevada County hasn’t escaped the American housing crisis. Since 1960, renters’ median earnings throughout the nation have gone up 5 percent while rents have risen by 61 percent. Workers earning the prevailing minimum wage can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in America. Across the U.S., there is a shortage of seven million rental homes for very low-income renters. Three out of four eligible low-income households are denied Federal Housing Assistance.
But there are solutions to the housing crisis. One idea is to create a renters’ tax credit. Currently, the tax code invests billions in helping homeowners, but renters are left out. With a renters’ credit low-income renters would get a tax credit for rent paid above 30% of their household income. It is a way for many households to be raised above the poverty line. The implications are powerful for low-income families. Money will then be available for more food, medications, transportation, school costs and other vital needs for day-to-day living.
Now is the time to call or e-mail our Member of Congress and let him know that the renter’s tax credit will make a difference in the lives of people in our area. Stable housing for Nevada County’s residents will improve our communities. Adults work more efficiently and children do better in school when they are eating and sleeping well. We can advocate for them by making our voices heard by our elected officials.