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Cantwell urges more resources for federal affordable housing

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SEATTLE (AP) — Calling homelessness and affordable housing a major challenge across the country, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell is urging Congress to expand a program that helps build more affordable housing.

The Washington Democrat on Thursday pushed for an increase to the federal low-income housing tax credit. She spoke at Patrick Place Apartments in Seattle, a 71-unit building built in 2014 to formerly homeless tenants.

“We’re here today to launch a national campaign to say that we need to increase the amount of tax credits so more affordable housing units can be built in the United States of America,” said Cantwell. “We know this is a big challenge, but the housing crisis is a big challenge. We stand here in this beautiful building called Patrick Place and ask, why not? Why not show that a partnership between federal, state, local government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector can provide homes for people who were formerly homeless.”

The senator was joined by mayors from Seattle, Everett and Tacoma, as well as housing advocates.

Supporters say the tax credit is the most effective tool in getting affordable housing built in cities and states. The program has helped build nearly 3 million housing units nationwide since it was created 30 years ago. About 75,400 affordable housing units have been built in Washington state.