Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Housing Authority of the City of Austin

North Loop Apartments
North Loop Apartments & Gaston Place Apartments. Photo: HACA

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.

Housing Authority of the City of Austin: Portfolio Modernization

The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is fully converting its public housing portfolio to RAD, and for many properties, has used 4 percent LIHTC and Private Activity Bonds (PABs) to improve its public housing stock through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD).

“Our ability to use 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Private Activity Bonds has been crucial to meeting Austin’s affordable housing challenge,” said HACA President and CEO Michael Gerber. “We are fully converting our public housing portfolio to RAD, and PABs layered with 4 percent credits have provided us with the necessary financing to dramatically rehabilitate our properties – including new kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and accessibility features.  There is intense competition in Texas for 9 percent tax credits, and winning them is difficult.  Without PABs and 4 percent credits, our RAD program would be dead in the water.”

“In just the past three years, HACA has issued $150 million in Private Activity Bonds, coupled with 4 percent credits, to develop 1,600 high-quality apartment units,” Gerber explained.” These developments would not have happened without the PAB  / 4 percent tax credit program. One thousand people a week are moving to Austin, and recent studies show that the city needs another 55,000 affordable housing units on the ground today.  Losing PAB capacity effectively kills the 4 percent tax credit.  And, without these financing tools, low-income people – seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans, and far too many children – will lose the opportunity for safe, decent housing.”

For more information about this project or to share your organization’s 4 percent LIHTC success story, please contact nahro@nahro.org.

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