WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 21, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — The National Fair Housing Alliance is urging the United States Department of the Treasury and New York housing finance agencies to administer the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program in a way that ends segregation and promotes economic opportunity for all people. This statement is in response to a report released today by the Fair Housing Justice Center that convincingly argues the LIHTC program may perpetuate residential segregation, counteracting the Fair Housing Act.
According to the study, titled “Choice Constrained, Segregation Maintained: Using Federal Tax Credits to Provide Affordable Housing,” New York housing finance agencies have been allocating tax credits for affordable housing developments predominantly in communities of color and high-poverty areas. Furthermore, an astonishing 71% of LIHTC affordable housing units are located in areas of high or extreme poverty and a whopping 77% of the LIHTC affordable housing units are located in areas where people of color are predominate. The study cites that the LIHTC program is used much more often to provide better housing in poor neighborhoods rather than to provide affordable housing in higher-income neighborhoods.
“The LIHTC program is a critical tool for providing much needed affordable housing to communities across the country, but the site location of tax credit developments may restrict housing choice and perpetuate entrenched patterns of segregation in our neighborhoods,” said Shanna Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “The recommendations proposed in the report will help ensure that the LIHTC program affirmatively furthers fair housing, a key requirement of all executive agencies.”
The report calls for housing finance agencies to review data on the location and occupancy of LIHTC developments to determine whether affordable housing is provided on a nondiscriminatory basis and whether programs are being implemented in a way that promotes integrated neighborhoods. Subsequently, this recommendation underscores the importance of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recently proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which would require local jurisdictions and Public Housing Authorities that receive HUD funds to perform a regular Assessment of Fair Housing, in part to determine how federal housing programs may perpetuate entrenched patterns of segregation.
To read the report in its entirety, please click here.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, and familial status.
The National Fair Housing Alliance
Founded in 1988, the National Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Fair Housing Alliance, through comprehensive education, advocacy and enforcement programs, provides equal access to apartments, houses, mortgage loans and insurance policies for all residents in the nation.
202-898-1661, ext. 119