All states and territories continued to include at least one method for incentivizing housing for vulnerable individuals and families either as part of their qualified allocation plan (QAP) or through an alternative state resource that was leveraged alongside the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) in 2019, according to CSH.

“When comparing year-over-year data, there was an increase from 2018 in the number of states requiring or incentivizing extended low-income periods for developments,” says CSH’s analysis of 2019 QAPs. “Similarly, more states included fair housing requirements that went beyond the Fair Housing Act. There was also an increase in the number of states using set-asides for extremely low-income (ELI) units serving those at or below 30% [of the] area median income (AMI); however, fewer states actually required ELI units as part of a threshold.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, CSH estimated there are 1.1 million individuals and families in need of supportive housing nationwide. The organization expects the health crisis may exacerbate the need.

In its latest report, CSH says it’s important for housing finance agencies (HFAs) that administer the LIHTC program to recognize that supportive housing is more than just prioritizing a special population. “By definition, supportive housing is permanent housing that ensures access to both affordable housing and support services,” says the organization. “Services should be flexible, voluntary, and offer a comprehensive array of support. Services that help tenants sustain housing stability and meet life goals are best.”

CSH continues to urge the allocation of LIHTCs for supportive housing. The majority of states use scoring incentives to award credits for supportive housing development. However, it’s difficult to determine how meaningful individual points are compared with the total score needed to receive a LIHTC allocation. “As such, HFAs must prioritize threshold and set-aside requirements to ensure enough units are dedicated to those who need them most,” says the report, noting that 14 states had a supportive housing set-aside. Six states had a supportive housing set-aside totaling more than $22.4 million. An additional eight states also had a supportive housing set-aside but did not indicate how much of the total allocation would be dedicated for this purpose.

The report also recommends including requirements for ELI units and prioritizing the populations most in need of supportive housing and large families.