NYU study finds housing tax credits serving those with greatest needs

By: Leslie Black-Plumeau

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program  serves a significant number of the nation's extremely low-income households, perhaps more so than members of the affordable housing field had anticipated, concluded NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy in a report released last week. 

The researchers explained that it was the combination of rental assistance for tenants living in housing subsidized through the LIHTC that enabled it to serve extremely low-income households.  “On its own, this tool (LIHTC) does not reach a significant number of extremely low-income households without those households experiencing rent burdens. Rental assistance is currently an indispensable part of the equation to serve those households,” concluded the report.

The study, which looked at more than 12,000 properties, or 38 percent of the total Housing credit stock, in all regions of the country, concluded that 62 percent of tenants have incomes at or below 40 percent of area median income (AMI), far below the Housing Credit income limits.

This results mirror the state-level study VHFA undertook in 2010, which found that 61% of all tenants in rental housing subsidized through the LIHTC program had very low incomes of less than $20,000.