Civil Rights Mandates in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program The LIHTC program, administered by the IRS and state housing finance agencies, is currently the largest low income housing production program in the country. Unfortunately, it has been operated with little or no civil rights oversight since its establishment in 1987. Patterns of siting of projects in many states are reproducing and perpetuating segregation of low income families in high poverty neighborhoods. In other states, developments located in low poverty areas may not be reaching the families who need housing most. With the ICP v. Texas case (2015) bringing renewed attention to this issue, and continuing advocacy at the federal and state level (see below), we are starting to see some promising progress toward a more balanced and fair LIHTC system.
December 2016 policy announcements
- Revenue Ruling 2016-29 confirms that the LIHTC statute does not require local support or contribution in state LIHTC plans (the ruling also notes that LIHTC is subject to the Fair Housing Act and its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing obligation).
- Notice 2016-77 indicates that the required preference for a "Concerted Community Revitalization Plan" in projects selected in higher poverty census tracts has to be an actual plan, and must include something more than just the LIHTC project itself.
- Department of Treasury final Title VI regulation implements the 1964 Civil Rights Act at the Department, but omits LIHTC from the list of covered Treasury programs. The final Title VI regulation leaves open the possibility that LIHTC might be added to the list at a later date, and also states that "the absence of a program or activity from the list does not by such absence limit the applicability of Title VI to that program or activity."
PRRAC Publications and Research Summaries
- Assessment Criteria For “Concerted Community Revitalization Plans”: A Recommended Framework (March 2017)
- Building Opportunity II: A Fair Housing Assessment of State Low Income Housing Tax Credit plans (May 2015)
- Annotated bibliography on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (articles and reports from 2009-2014, updating annotated bibliography in our 2008 “Building Opportunity” report)
- Creating Balance in the Locations of LIHTC Developments: The Role of Qualified Allocation Plans, by Jill Khadduri (February 2013)
- Megan Haberle, Ebony Gayles, and Philip Tegeler, Accessing Opportunity: Recommendations for Marketing and Tenant Selection in LIHTC and Other Housing Programs (PRRAC, December 2012)
- Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools? (November 2012), by Ingrid Gould Ellen and Keren Mertens Horn
- Opportunity and Location in Federally Subsidized Housing Programs: A New Look at HUD’s Site & Neighborhood Standard As Applied to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (October 2011)
- Builfding Opportunity: Civil Rights Best Practices in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (An Updated Fifty-State Review of LIHTC “Qualified Allocation Plans” ) (October 2008) (with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law)
- Are States Using the Low Income Tax Credit to Enable Families with Children to Live in Low Poverty and Racially Integrated Neighborhoods? A report by Jill Khadduri, Larry Buron, and Carissa Climaco, sponsored by PRRAC and the National Fair Housing Alliance (2007)
- "Percentage of family LIHTC units in low-poverty neighborhoods: ranking of all large metro areas"
Other Recent Research
- NCSHA Recommended Practices in Housing Credit Administration (2018)
- Ingrid Gould Ellen, Keren Mertens Horn, and Yiwen Kuai, “Gateway to Opportunity? Disparities in Neighborhood Conditions Among Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Residents,” (Housing Policy Debate, March 2018)
(Read the National Low Income Housing Coalition summary here)
- Shi, Samuels, and Pollack, “Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: Optimizing Its Impact on Health,” (American Journal of Public Health, October 2017)
- Michelle D. Layser, How Federal Tax Law Rewards Segregation (Indiana Law Journal, Forthcoming 2017)
- Government Accountability Office, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit:Actions Needed to Strengthen Oversight and Accountability (Testimony Before the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate, August 1, 2017)
- Assessment of the New Jersey Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (New Jersey Future, May 2017)
- Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2014 (HUD, April 2017)
- Opportunity, Race, and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Projects: An Analysis of LIHTC Developments in the San Francisco Bay Area (March 2017)
- Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: The Role of Syndicators (Government Accountability Office, February 2017)
- Fair Housing and Balanced Choices: Did Texas Reduce Government-Funded Segregation? An Analysis of 9% LIHTC Siting in Texas, 2006-2015 (Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, January 2017)
- Housing a Nation: The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (a Furman Center research summary, February 2017)
- LOW-INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT: Some Agency Practices Raise Concerns and IRS Could Improve Noncompliance Reporting and Data Collection (Government Accountability Office, May 2016)
- Ingrid G. Ellen, Keren M. Horn, and Katherine M. O’Regan, “Poverty concentration and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit: Effects of siting and tenant composition,” Journal of Housing Economics, Volume 34, December 2016, Pages 49–59.
- A Seat at the Table: Changing the Governing Structure of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program Administration to Reflect Civil Rights Values and Fair Housing (Raquel Smith, Columbia Journal of Race and Law, 2016)
- LIHTC Awards in Ohio, 20016-2015: Where Are They Providing Housing for Families with Children? (Abt Associates, August 2016)
- Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2013 (HUD, March 2016)
- Megan Randall, “Redefining Revitalization: An Analysis of Community Revitalization in Texas’ Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program,” (Texas Architecture, January 2016)
- Kirk McClure and Bonnie Johnson, Housing Programs Fail to Deliver on Neighborhood Quality, Reexamined (Housing Policy Debate, April 2015)
- Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2012, by Michael Hollar, (HUD, December 2014)
- Effect of QAP Incentives on the Location of LIHTC Properties (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, April 2015)
- "Reforming Subsidized Housing Policy in the Twin Cities to Cut Costs and Reduce Segregation" (Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, January 2014)
- Choice Constrained, Segregation Maintained: Using Federal Tax Credits to Provide Affordable Housing (Fair Housing Justice Center, August 2013)
- Exploring the Spatial Distribution of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Properties, by Casey Dawkins (for HUD Office of Policy Development & Research, February 2011)
- 2009 UCLA Civil Rights Project report on LIHTC and school segregation in California
- "Survey Data Shows Small Share of LIHTC Units Receiving 2005 Allocations Were Intended to Serve Poor Households” By Joseph Guggenheim
- Seema Shah, "Having Low Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Plans Take into Account the Quality of Schools at Proposed Family Housing Sites: A Partial Answer to the Residential Segregation Dilemma?" 39 Indiana Law Review 691 (2006) (Copyright 2006, the Trustees of Indiana University. Reprinted with permission from the Indiana Law Review)
- Diane Standaert, "The Absence of Minority Concentration Assessments in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit: An Empirical Data Case Study of Durham North Carolina," Practicing Planner (Summer 2006) (Copyright 2006, Americal Planning Association. Reprinted with permission.)
- "Underwriting for Fair Housing" by Henry Korman, Summer, 2005
- A Developer's Approach to Organized Opposition: Utilizing the Fair Housing Act to Counteract NIMBY, by Robert H. Voelker
- Myron Orfield, "Racial Integration and Community Revitalization: Applying The Fair Housing Act to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit," Vanderbilt Law Review, November 2005 (8 Vand. L. Rev. 1747).
- Making the Best Use of Your LIHTC Dollars: A Planning Paper for State Policy Makers (Abt Associates, 2004)
- Florence Roisman, “Mandates Unsatisfied: The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program and the Civil Rights Laws,” 52 Miami L. Rev. 1011 (1998).
National Policy Advocacy
LIHTC Advocacy in the States
Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools? (November 2012), by Ingrid Gould Ellen and Keren Mertens Horn