Congressman Bill Owens today introduced legislation that would give service members and their families better access to affordable homes. The Military Families Affordable Homes Act would fix a formula that has traditionally locked military personnel out of important opportunities to compete for low-cost housing.
"Making it easier for American troops to find affordable housing will allow them to focus their attention on the mission they have set out to accomplish," Owens said. "In addition, this legislation is another step towards helping alleviate the housing crunch around Fort Drum by incentivizing the construction of new affordable housing."
As it stands today, real estate developers are eligible for tax credits under Section 42 of the IRS Code to create and maintain affordable rental properties. The eligibility for these tax credits requires that renters have an income below a designated level. For many members of the military, their annual pay alone would qualify them for Section 42 housing. However, the current formula also uses service members' Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) when calculating income, and that inclusion is often enough to exclude most members of the military from this important housing program.
Congress passed an exception to this policy that was limited to just a handful of military installations around the country, whereby service members stationed at those installations could apply for Section 42 housing without their BAH being included for consideration as annual pay. The Military Families Affordable Homes Act would extend this policy to military personnel at any installation in the country, giving American service members and their families the opportunity to take part in Section 42 housing.
"It is critical that we help ensure soldiers at Fort Drum have opportunities to make their home in the North Country both on and off post," added Owens. "We owe it to our fighting men and women to afford them and their families every opportunity they have earned as they continue their important work keeping America safe and free."