SAVANNAH, Ga. (WJBF) – Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock talks about new legislation to help lower housing costs and help homebuyers in Georgia.

Warnock unveiled his plan during his visit to Savannah-Chatham area after receiving the Affordable Housing Award from the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association during their 2022 Leadership Affordable Housing Conference.

“Today, it is harder than ever for Georgians to cover their housing costs, which have risen twelve percent since last year,” says Senator Warnock. “That’s why I am unveiling a new package of legislation that will lower housing costs for people in Georgia and across our country by helping them cover their rent and save up to buy a home. Put together, these bills will help address the widening homeownership gap and provide all Georgians the opportunity to build generational wealth.”

According to housing records, Georgia renters have faced an almost 14% increase in median rents since 2019, marking it the 12th highest rate in the country.

According to officials, there are three bills that comprise Senator Warnock’s legislative package to lower housing costs for Georgians:

Rent Relief Act of 2022: This bill provides a tax cut to renters whose rent exceeds 30% of their income based on specific income thresholds. These income thresholds are adjusted for renters in Difficult Development Areas (DDAs) where development costs are high relative to incomes. The bill also permits eligible taxpayers to elect to receive any tax credits as a monthly advance and has a sunset provision to end in 2024.

American Dream Down Payment Act of 2022: This bill would help address the need for financial products that support savings for purchasing a home by allowing individuals to grow savings in a tax-free account as well as allow family and friends to contribute to their savings.

Housing Market Transparency Act: This bill would help address the need for more data transparency within the affordable housing market, specifically within the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. It designates that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should collect annual LIHTC property data from housing finance agencies. This data will enable researchers, regulators, and advocates to make the program more efficient as well as keep tenants well informed about affordable housing.