Implementing the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment: Advancing Opportunity Through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

The Fair Housing Equity Assessment (FHEA) represents a new opportunity for regional and local agencies to be more strategic with their resources to advance goals of investing in high-poverty communities while ensuring that more low-income people and families have expanded mobility to neighborhoods of high opportunity. Achieving these goals at a regional scale will take strategic investment to leverage all resources available for the task.

Critical to achieving regional housing choice and affordability is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. These tax credits are a vital source of finance for the construction and preservation of affordable housing. The program has financed 90 percent of all affordable housing created across the country, with more than 2.4 million units constructed, since its inception in 1986. Housing constructed using LIHTC resources often have more flexibility in usage compared with those built using other financial sources for affordable housing, making LIHTC an even more valuable instrument to expand housing choice for low-income families in quality school districts, transit-rich neighborhoods, and gentrifying communities. Properties funded by the LIHTC complement other rental assistance programs like the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, as the LIHTC program focuses on expanding the supply of affordable housing in areas of opportunity, where it is more difficult or not possible for vouchers to be used.

In this brief, we address how the LIHTC program can be a useful tool to implement regional goals to expand affordable housing options in areas of high opportunity, preserve affordable housing in gentrifying neighborhoods, and build quality affordable housing as part of a revitalization strategy in disinvested neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.