The Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) released a report entitled Choice Constrained, Segregation Maintained: Using Federal Tax Credits to Provide Affordable Housing that examines the location of affordable housing / Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties and how where the housing is located can perpetuate segregation. FHJC concludes that the location of affordable housing can determine whether families have access to a variety of areas, including low-poverty communities that may offer greater employment opportunities, high-quality educational opportunities, and other important amenities.
Some of the key findings contained in the report include:
- Most LIHTC affordable housing units (71%) were located in areas of high or extreme poverty.
- Most LIHTC affordable housing units (77%) were located in minority neighborhoods.
- Nearly half of all LIHTC housing units in suburban areas were elderly units. 63% of the elderly units were located in low-poverty areas, while only 25% of the family units were located in these areas. Similarly, 74% of the suburban elderly units were developed in white or predominantly white areas, while only 31% of family units were located in these areas.
- LIHTC housing units were concentrated in poor and minority neighborhoods regardless of whether they involved the rehabilitation or new construction of multifamily housing.
- More than half of the LIHTC housing units developed in the study area received tax credits from HPD. Only 2% of these units were located in low-poverty neighborhoods and only 9% were located in white or predominantly white areas in New York City.
The report includes more than a dozen recommended action steps aimed at ensuring that the LIHTC program operates in a manner that:
- Complies with the federal Fair Housing Act and the duty to affirmatively further fair housing;
- Expands housing choices available to lower-income and minority family households;
- Deconcentrates poverty and reduces residential racial segregation;
- Identifies and eliminates barriers to developing LIHTC housing for families in low-poverty areas; and
- Provides incentives to promote the development of mixed-income housing.