BATON ROUGE—The Louisiana Housing Finance Agency (LHFA) forward allocated its 2008 tax credit authority in 2006 and 2007 for projects in the Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone and projects located outside the GO Zone requesting per capita low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), said Brenda Evans, program administrator.
The biggest changes to the 2008 qualified allocation plan (QAP) are giving mixed-income projects priority status and allowing developers to receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in conjunction with LIHTCs.
"Most changes [are connected] to the effects of the 2005 hurricanes," said Evans. "Due to the devastation, we’re receiving requests for more rehabilitation."
With all the injuries to housing in Louisiana, LHFA firmly believes green building elements are very important in future and rehabbed affordable housing. The agency added a requirement that LIHTC developments use Energy Star appliances as a threshold item for 2008.
LHFA has $65.1 million of LIHTC authority for 2008, including GO Zone credits. The maximum LIHTC award in Louisiana for 2008 is $12.8 million. For the first funding round, LHFA considered projects "ranging from deep affordability to market-rate," said Evans. As a result, more tax credit units will be a part of mixed-use housing in Louisiana.
In 2007, $65.1 million of LIHTC was reserved, and a whopping $156 million was requested. Sixty-eight projects consisting of 6,182 total units received 9 percent LIHTCs in 2007. Evans did not say how many of the units in the projects were tax credit units.
On the bonds front, LHFA has reserved $65.15 million to six multifamily projects in 2007. In addition, the agency preliminarily approved bond financing of $155 million for another 14 developments.
"We are requesting additional volume cap from the new governor, so we don’t know what’s going to happen," said Loretta Wallace. "You can blame [Hurricanes] Katrina and Rita for this."
In October, Republican Bobby Jindal was elected governor. He is the first nonwhite governor of Louisiana and the nation’s first Indian-American governor.
Wallace said the agency is in the process of setting up a program to use CDBG funds in conjunction with bonds and 4 percent LIHTCs.
2008 LIHTC PROGRAM:
- 2008 LIHTC authority (est.): $65.1 million
- Application deadlines: July 17, 2007