Before (bottom) and after (top) pictures of Emerald Family Properties buildings. Photo credits: Walla Walla Housing Authority
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.
Walla Walla Housing Authority: Emerald Family Properties
Walla Walla (Wash.) County has the largest affordable housing gap in the state of Washington, and so the pressure is high to keep existing public and affordable housing. Recently, the Walla Walla Housing Authority (WWHA) used a combination of 4 percent LIHTCs and tax-exempt bonds to revitalize and preserve the Emerald Family Properties, an 84-unit family development with two- to five-bedroom units in nine neighborhoods. The financing package allowed the housing authority to upgrade both the interiors and the exteriors of the units, and to increase energy efficiency in a way that would lower the utility costs for the residents. Emerald Family Properties has project-based vouchers attached to its units, and thus is able to serve very low-income families as well as those of moderate income.
“This project never would have pointed in the 9 percent LIHTC credit round, so the 4 percent LIHTC and tax-exempt bonds are essential financing tools that we use to address our community’s housing needs,” said WWHA Executive Director Renée Rooker. “Over the past five years, we have developed 245 units serving elderly individuals, veterans, persons with disabilities, and families by utilizing 4 percent LIHTCs and tax-exempt bonds. Besides Emerald Family Properties, we will have completed 80 more units in the next couple of weeks. None of this could have transpired without these financing tools.”
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