Senate & House Introduce Housing Bills

Despite being late in the legislative session, there was a significant change in the affordable housing legislation this week. Each chamber introduced their own bill(s) to address affordable housing in Iowa. Neither the House nor the Senate included the Governor’s proposal for a new Iowa Housing Tax Credit program, however they did propose increasing funding for workforce housing, additional funding for the State Housing Trust Fund, brownfield/grayfield revitalization credits, and disaster recovery program. There are differences between the House and Senate in terms of funding amounts, and final negotiations between the respective leaders are underway. See below for a summary of the recently introduced legislation.  

SF 609: This legislation addresses several economic development pieces, including affordable housing. The housing division include increasing the workforce housing tax credit for to $40 million for one year, with an increase in the rural set-aside from $10 to $12 million dollars. It also extends the repeal date for the Revitalization Tax credit to June 30, 2031. It also strikes the $200k dwelling cost unit cap and replaces with IEDA rules authority. While it does not include language for the State Housing Trust Fund or disaster recover, the Senate addressed that in separate legislation. The original bill, SSB 1269, was passed out of subcommittee and Ways and Means committee this week. It is eligible for consideration by the Senate. Iowa Housing Partnership SUPPORTS. 

SSB 1270: This pertains to the State Housing Trust Fund and increases the funding from the real estate transfer tax from $3 million to $5.5 million. The bill is assigned to the Appropriations committee and will have a subcommittee on Monday afternoon. Iowa Housing Partnership SUPPORTS. 

SSB 1272: This legislation creates a disaster recovery program fund and a granting mechanism for unobligated funds. The bill will have a subcommittee on Monday afternoon. Iowa Housing Partnership SUPPORTS. 

HSB 274: This legislation introduces several measures for affordable housing. It removes the $3 million State Housing Trust Fund cap. It also increases Workforce Housing Tax Credit program from $25 million to $50 million and increases the small city allocation from $10 million to $20 million. After 3 years, the bill repeals these increases (back to $25m and $10m). It also strikes the $200k dwelling cost unit cap and replaces with IEDA rules authority. At this time, a subcommittee is not scheduled, which may signal the House’s intent to take up the Senate’s bill when passed by the Chamber. Iowa Housing Partnership SUPPORTS.  

SF 295/ HF 582: This is Governor Reynolds’ Omnibus Housing bill with several divisions aimed at boosting affordable housing throughout Iowa. As overall budget negotiations continue, the bill is in the Senate Ways and Means committee for consideration. Once the budget target is known, we expect to learn more about how the funds may be allocated to or divided among the proposed programs. Similarly, a House Ways and Means subcommittee with Reps. Hite, Boden and Jacoby has been assigned. With the introduction of separate bills in both chambers this week, it is expected that those bills will be the vehicle for any affordable housing programs and the Governor’s bills, as introduced will not see additional movement.  

Iowa Housing Partnership continues to work with housing advocates and stakeholders in targeted legislative districts across the state to encourage greater grass-roots contacts with key legislators. Iowa Housing Partnership SUPPORTS. 

SF 252HF 720: This legislation prohibits cities and counties from passing ordinances that bar landlords from refusing to accept housing vouchers. Having been passed by both chambers, the bill is on the Governor’s desk awaiting her signature. Iowa Housing Partnership is AGAINST. 

HF 626: This legislation aims to provide property tax exemptions for properties located in areas previously ‘redlined’ and subjected to lending discrimination. The House passed the bill unanimously, 96-0. Being funnel proof, it is eligible for consideration by the full Senate Ways and Means committee. Iowa Housing Partnership SUPPORTS. 

SF590: Senator Mark Lofgren’s legislation (formerly SF 100) provides for the creation of land banks. Senators Dawson, Jochum, and Roby Smith held a subcommittee on the bill and moved it forward for consideration by the full Ways and Means committee, where it was also approved. Iowa Housing Partnership SUPPORTS. 

SF 373:  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Lofgren, establishes a homeownership tax credit program for charitable contributions to certain low-income housing developers. The bill is in the Ways and Means committee for future consideration.  Iowa Housing Partnership SUPPORTS. 

HF 833: This legislation (formerly HF 442) allows for the termination of a tenancy only for material violations of the lease, for legitimate business reasons and due to changes in use for the land for mobile and manufactured homes.  The bill did not receive a floor vote in the House, however, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brian Lohse, has filed an amendment with similar protections onto another bill, SF 469, relating to mobile homes. SF 469 is currently on the unfinished business calendar and awaits consideration by the House Chamber. Client is unregistered/monitoring. 

Last Minute Push!

There are a couple of forums left and also it is not too late to contact your legislator about affordable housing. THE TIME IS NOW! Take a minute to call, text, or email your legislator. Tell them:

  • Thank you for additional funding for the Workforce Housing Tax Credit and ask them to fund it fully, in line with the Governor’s proposed $50 million.
  • Encourage the Senate to fully removing the cap on the real estate transfer tax to give additional money to the State Housing Trust Fund, as proposed in House and Governor’s bills.
  • Ask them to take a closer look at the state housing tax credit program as a way to leverage under/unused federal funds (and keep those dollars here!)

Saturday, April 24th, 2021

10:00-12:00 PM Talk with Legislators – Urbandale, Sen. Zaun, Rep. Forbes

Virtual event, see link to attend.

10:00 – 11:00 AM Public Forum – Carlisle, Rep. Boden

Carlisle High School WAC Bldg., 430 School St., Carlisle, IA 50047

Monday, April 26th, 2021

8:00-10:30 AM Marti’s Legislative Coffee- Des Moines, Rep. Anderson

Grounds for Celebration, 2709 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, IA 50310 

From the President's Desk...

Over the past weeks, we’ve talked about our excitement over the Governor’s bold plan to increase affordable housing across the state of Iowa. Some of the highlights are:

  • Increased State Housing Trust Fund appropriation                 
  • Workforce Housing Tax Credit increase from $25 MM to $50 MM
  • Expand the Redevelopment Credit from $10 to $20 million

At this point, it does, unfortunately, look like the creation of a state affordable housing credit will not happen this year. While disappointing, it just means that we – the affordable housing community in Iowa – need to be more active in promoting our successes. When I first started my day job almost seven years ago, I was fortunate to work for a company that celebrated its successes. What I learned from that is that too often, we in the affordable housing community, do not celebrate these successes. These celebrations help promote what each of us do, every day.  

Let’s think about that: When was the last time we celebrated what we ultimately do, which is provide affordable housing in our state of Iowa?

While it’s disappointing that not all of the Governor’s Housing Omnibus bill is being considered, let’s celebrate that it is part of the discussion at all. Let’s be active in contacting our legislators and inviting them to open houses and tours. Physical proof of success is a great way to move our message forward.

As part of IHP’s 2021 goals, we are planning several activities and opportunities to engage over the summer and fall after the legislature adjourns. We welcome your ideas for topics and of course, hope you will participate! Send us your ideas and suggestions!

—Dan Garrett