Mercy Loan Fund understands that affordable housing answers only one community need. Commercial lending is often not available, or too expensive, to build facilities in low income communities. MLF has therefore pursued New Markets Tax Credits to expand the suite of financial products available to low income communities. MLF focuses on funding facilities that help improve the health of residents of nearby affordable housing; a goal encapsulated in the theme Rebuilding Healthy Communities.
Mercy Loan Fund recently celebrated the grand opening of their first New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) project, a 30-bed orthopedic hospital in Hattiesburg, MS. The clinic, which is run by a nonprofit hospital and delivers care to 19 medically underserved surrounding counties, is a great example of our Rebuilding Healthy Communities goal in action.
Unfortunately, the authorization for the New Markets Tax Credit has run out, leaving no more available funding for this program that has created or retained 300,000 jobs. According to the GAO, 88% of investors would not have invested in these projects without the incentive of the Credit. MLF is therefore helping raise support in Congress for extending the New Markets Tax Credit. And we already have one big accomplishment to report: 12 freshman House Republicans published a letter in support of the economic revitalization activities made possible by the NMTC. The list of supporters included Hattiesburg representative Steve Palazzo, whom we had been educating about the positive impact of the credit in his district. Overall, the letter represents a considerable increase in bipartisan support for the credit, separating it from the knotty issue of tax reform by focusing on issues like jobs and economic recovery that everyone can agree on.