Who Does LIHTC Housing Serve?

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) ensures a supply of affordable rental housing. Created as part of the 1986 tax reform effort, the LIHTC, also known as the affordable housing credit, has been responsible for financing the development of more than 2.6 million affordable rental homes. In a typical year, the housing credit also supports approximately 96,000 jobs.

A recent report published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research highlights those households who benefit from the development and operation of this housing.  “Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2012” uses data collected from state housing finance agencies to provide demographic and economic information regarding residents of housing credit properties.

The findings of the report concerning affordable housing tenants include:

Income profiles:

  • Median household income of $17,066
  • Approximately 60% have household income of less than $20,000
  • About 25% earned less than $10,000
  • 46% of households had incomes at 30% or less of area median gross income (AMGI)
  • 35% of households had income between 30% and 50% of AMGI
  • Study: “LIHTC program serves many households at income levels well below the program’s federal maximum of 60% of AMGI”

Demographics:

  • 6.4% of households had at least one disabled resident
  • More than 36% of households had at least one resident under the age of 18
  • About one-third of households had at least one member over the age of 61
  • More than 28% of households were headed by an individual over the age of 61

For additional commentary on the findings, also see Michael Novogradac’s useful summary of the article.

As the report notes, some of the data reporting from housing finance agencies was incomplete, this being the first public release of this data collection work. Nonetheless, the study’s authors believe “it provides a useful picture of the program’s beneficiaries.”

Future reports are expected to build on this effort, which details who benefits from the nation’s largest affordable housing production program.



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