This week, the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University (NYU) released a policy brief highlighting the key findings and policy implications of their July 2012 study on Housing Credit tenants.
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. They also found that rental assistance is very well-targeted to serve extremely low-income (ELI) households, with nearly 70 percent of ELI households living in Housing Credit apartments receiving some form of rental assistance. ELI households are defined as those with annual income at or below 30 percent of AMI.
According to its authors, the research demonstrates that the Housing Credit program:
• Serves a significant number of ELI households, “perhaps more so than members of the affordable housing field had anticipated.”
• Is an important tool to provide housing to those with the greatest need for affordable housing, particularly when combined with rental assistance.
• Does not undermine federal priorities for serving lowest income tenants because states are furthering those priorities in the way they allocate Credits.
Based on their research, the study’s authors suggest that the conventional wisdom about many aspects of the Housing Credit program may not hold. They plan to conduct additional research to identify the key benefits and costs of the program, including the ability of low-income households to access neighborhoods of opportunity, the impact of the Housing Credit program on poverty deconcentration, and the most efficient and effective way to preserve the affordability and quality of Housing Credit developments reaching years 15 and 30.