On August 28 the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities released a new report entitled, “Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Could Do More to Expand Opportunity for Poor Families.”  The report finds that,  “despite some recent improvements, LIHTC falls short of meeting its potential to help poor families move to low-poverty neighborhoods with strong schools and low crime, which research shows can have a range of benefits, including raising children’s long-run earnings and chances of attending college. This analysis discusses the potential benefits that LIHTC developments in low-poverty areas can provide to poor families, reviews data on the characteristics of neighborhoods where LIHTC developments are located today (with state-by-state data on the share of LIHTC units in low-poverty neighborhoods listed in the Appendix), and describes steps policymakers could take to improve LIHTC’s performance in expanding opportunity.

These steps include strengthening state policies that encourage placement of LIHTC developments in high-opportunity neighborhoods and instituting measures to ensure that those developments are affordable and accessible to families with incomes around or below the poverty line — for example, through improved coordination between LIHTC and rental assistance programs such as Housing Choice Vouchers. LIHTC reform legislation currently before Congress, sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), includes several significant provisions that could make LIHTC more effective at expanding opportunity for poor families.