Five industry veterans share how the LIHTC program has influenced their work.
Executive Director, Housing Advisory Group, and Vice President, Boston Capital
“Truth be told, I was smitten with the LIHTC [low-income housing tax credit] from the beginning. It just made sense to me as a program that directly addresses a public need, melds government incentives with private-sector investment and expertise, which in the end benefits the lives of citizens covering the demographic spectrum.
What I’ve found to be true for me has also been borne out with legislators and decision-makers across the country. We have yet to have a member of Congress visit a LIHTC property and not come away impressed with the property, the tenants, and, most significantly, the policy. Few tax incentives have seen the level of support the LIHTC has enjoyed, and I can tell you it is entirely due to the pride and confidence it invokes as good public policy with its supporters and advocates. While never easy, it does make my job a lot more fun.”
Executive Vice President, R4 Capital
“I started my career in affordable housing—literally—living in a HUD-insured rental property with my young son and working at the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. I moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the National Council of State Housing Agencies just a few months before Congress enacted the Tax Reform Act that created the LIHTC. I’ve been immersed in this incredible program ever since and experienced it from all angles. The best has always been seeing the results of the coordinated efforts of developers, allocating housing finance agencies, syndicators and investors, lawyers, accountants, and management companies. That’s when articulate children, beaming parents, and seniors all express their heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the benefits of having a safe and affordable home. I am so grateful for being a part of this incredibly successful program for the past 30 years.”
Executive Director, Washington State Housing Finance Commission
“The LIHTC program has influenced my work very significantly. Before tax credits, we normally were able to set aside only 20% of the units as affordable in new buildings in large metro areas. LIHTC [has] allowed us to reach smaller cities and neglected rural communities and expanded our ability to serve special populations and provide nonprofits with housing development resources. The 9% credit’s deep subsidy and flexibility allow us to reach many more very low-income households. We now serve formerly homeless adults, farmworkers, tribal members, seniors, persons with dependency problems, and other special-needs groups and coordinate with Washington’s Housing Trust Fund and local levy money. Combined with tax-exempt bonds, the 4% tax credit builds and preserves affordable housing for more metro households earning less than 60% of the AMI. LIHTC is the most effective multifamily program in our arsenal.”
President and CEO, The Community Builders
“LIHTC has put quality housing within financial reach for millions of American families, enabling The Community Builders [TCB] to build thousands of new affordable and mixed-income apartments in much-strengthened city and suburban neighborhoods across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest. LIHTC has also become America’s only major recapitalization program for existing Sec. 8, Sec. 202, and public housing developments, allowing TCB to renovate existing affordable housing in over 30 cities. Each state gets to develop its own innovative, meritocratic system for allocating LIHTCs. At TCB, we work hard to actively engage as a valued partner in each of the 14 states where we work. Going forward, we simply need more LIHTC to address both housing production and recapitalization. Let’s all work for a 50% increase in 9% allocations, income averaging, a fixed 4% credit, and a national reallocation pool for unused tax-exempt bonds.”
J. David Heller
Co-Founder and Principal, The NRP Group
“The LIHTC program reinforces our core belief that everyone should have a quality home. This program is a successful model for affordable housing, providing dynamic and diverse neighborhoods through responsible development. Affordable housing provides working families with greater access to resources that will promote continued upward mobility, including quality schools, public transportation, and jobs. The LIHTC program … is an important tool to provide housing to those with the greatest needs, including families, seniors, and those with disabilities. A value-based supportive-services program is also imperative to further improve the lives and stability of residents. LIHTC [enables] NRP to provide quality, attractive, well-built communities. It’s important to reflect on the achievements of the LIHTC program over the past 30 years and continue to strengthen it to address our country’s housing needs.”