A Letter from Kimberly McKinney Regarding Senate Bill 285

Dear Friends and Dedicated Supporters,

Whether you have held a hammer on the build site, wielded a pen to write a check and make a financial contribution – perhaps even both — Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis would not exist without you! Today, I am asking you to help us with another valuable resource – your voice.

State Senator Andrew Koenig of the 15th District has introduced Senate Bill 285, which would modify the Neighborhood Assistance Act by changing the cap on the Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credits and by repealing the Development Tax Credit. Additionally, the Affordable Housing Tax credit cap for investments in affordable housing activities would be reduced from $10 million to $7 million per fiscal year. The Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit cap would be reduced from $16 million to just $5 million per fiscal year. (Sections 32.100 to 32.125)

What does this mean for Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis?
Frankly, it could be catastrophic.

Our organization benefits greatly from our participation in the AHAP tax credit program, which allows donors who make qualified contributions to our organization to receive a significant tax liability benefit in exchange for their generosity. It encourages donors to give a larger contributions and gives Habitat Saint Louis an extremely effective incentive to present to donors who have significant tax liabilities. As an example, AHAP tax credits supported the startup, full rent and related expenses for operating ReStore Des Peres – an invaluable income stream for Habitat Saint Louis as well as a resource for affordable building materials for the DesPeres community. Just last year, ReStore Des Peres took in more than 5,000 donations and diverted 6,000 tons of usable materials from landfills. The facility provides full-time employment for 10 people. Imagine if those tax credits hadn’t been available to make the dream of ReStore Des Peres a reality. Over the past three years, tax credit allocations of almost 2.5 million have supported $4 million in donations to Habitat Saint Louis. We rely on the program for much needed funding to build housing for deserving, hardworking, local families who simply want to raise their families in a safe place they can afford.

Contrary to popular belief, Habitat Saint Louis isn’t rolling in money.

In fact, we run a very tight ship, with 86 cents of every dollar going directly to program costs, and just 14 cents going to administrative and fundraising costs. Part of the reason we are so effective in keeping costs down is because we have been able to leverage the AHAP tax credit program to encourage larger donations from qualified donors. We cannot lose this resource and continue to build as many homes in our community.

We need these tax credits…the families who turn to us for hope need them, too.

I am sharing all of this with you because you can help. Please use your voice to tell your State Senator how vitally important these tax credits are in creating affordable housing for families teetering on the brink of poverty. If you are not sure how to contact your Senate representative, please click on this link to locate your Senator and his or her contact information.

Regardless of how you contact your State Senator, we are deeply grateful to you for using your voice to help us preserve this much needed source of income, which benefits affordable housing in our region. If you do contact your Senator, please let us know by emailingdevelopment@habitatstl.org with the date of your contact and the method (phone, email, letter, etc.).

People are what make Habitat Saint Louis a life-changing resource for low-income families seeking opportunity for greater social and financial stability through affordable homeownership. Thank you for your careful consideration of my request. And please – if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me at kimberly@habitatstl.org.

In partnership,

Kimberly McKinney
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis