The low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) has not only been the most powerful tool to create and preserve affordable housing, it’s been one of the most flexible.
Housing finance agencies (HFAs) are deploying the housing credit in innovative ways to meet housing needs, maximize resources, and elevate design.
“Innovation been a hallmark of this program from the beginning,” says Barbara Thompson, executive director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA). “The way Congress designed the program was to give the states flexibility. From flexibility stems creativity.”
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has recently deployed some of its housing credits to neighborhoods still struggling with the effects of the foreclosure crisis.
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has created a special allocation round to fund high-impact projects. In another example, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) has encouraged Passive House design through its LIHTC program.
They’re not alone in finding creative and critical ways to use housing credits. During a time of limited resources, wonderful ideas bloom, says Thompson. “From a national perspective, we’re seeing this kind of innovation all around the country,” she says.