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

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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.

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Knoxville Community Development Corporation

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KNOXVILLE’S COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (KCDC) RECENTLY ANNOUNCED A $33.1 REHABILITATION INITIATIVE AT THREE AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROPERTIES: LONSDALE HOMES, NORTH RIDGE CROSSING (PICTURED) AND THE VISTA AT SUMMIT HILL. THE IMPROVEMENTS WILL IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND QUALITY OF LIFE FOR RESIDENTS.

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.

Knoxville Community Development Corporation: Lonsdale Homes, North Ridge Crossing and The Vista at Summit Hill Properties

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) recently approved a $33.1 million rehabilitation initiative at three affordable housing properties. In total, 705 units at Lonsdale Homes, North Ridge Crossing and The Vista at Summit Hill will undergo significant improvements with an emphasis on energy efficiency and quality of life for residents. The plans include better insulation, LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, plumbing repairs, roof replacement and new windows, flooring, cabinets and countertops. The improvements will be funded with a combination of low-income housing tax credits and multifamily housing bonds. “This initiative will yield significant benefits for the three properties and the residents we serve,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “The physical condition of these properties will be greatly enhanced and that, in turn, leads to lower operational and maintenance costs.”

“These improvements further our mission of providing quality affordable housing for our residents,” Sean Gilbert, KCDC’s Senior Vice President of Housing, added. “KCDC has been able to dramatically impact the quality of life for 705 Knoxville families by utilizing the LIHTC 4% credit/tax-exempt bonds.  If not for these important financing tools, low-income families would be forced to reside in aging units with deteriorating structures and without modern amenities and improved energy efficiency.  Our families will be able to focus on job growth and their children’s education without the distraction of obsolete housing structures.”

The plans are part of KCDC’s transition of its public housing stock to the rental assistance demonstration (RAD) program, which was created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2012 to help agencies continue their housing mission without dependence on federal funds. The program allows housing agencies to leverage public and private debt and equity to reinvest in their properties.

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

Why New Market Tax Credits Matter: Three Success Stories

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) help localities build stronger neighborhoods by investing in housing, schools, and other vital projects that are targeted at helping low-income communities. Between 2003 and 2015, $42 billion in direct NMTC authority has generated almost $80 billion in capital for local businesses and revitalization projects. NMTC investment has resulted in the creation or retention of over 750,000 jobs, and the financing of over 178 million square feet (sq. ft.) of commercial real estate and almost 14,000 affordable housing units. NMTCs are a proven and effective tool for generating private-sector investments in communities in need. 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 communities.  Continue reading

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Walla Walla Housing Authority

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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.”

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

Representatives Tiberi and Neal Introduce Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

Yesterday, Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 1661), a comprehensive bill that would strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC or Housing Credit). This bill serves as the companion legislation to S. 548, which was introduced earlier this month by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Rep. Hatch is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Similar to the Senate bill, H.R. 1661 seeks to improve LIHTC through provisions that would streamline and modernize the program, as well as increase financial feasibility for projects and encourage development in underserved areas. The legislation would also support the development of rental units that use the Housing Credit in conjunction with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide important financing to about 40 percent of all Housing Credit apartments.

The House bill has bipartisan support and there are  16 other original co-sponsors, 13 of which are Ways and Means Committee members. Unlike S. 548, the House bill would not phase-in a 50 percent increase to the Housing Credit cap. However, H.R. 1661 takes significant steps to strengthen LIHTC and NAHRO joins the ACTION Campaign (a coalition of over 2,000 national, state and local affordable housing stakeholders) in endorsing this critical legislation, while encouraging Congress to include a cap increase in any final tax legislation.

More information on H.R. 1661 by the ACTION Campaign can found here: