Ten principles should guide state administration of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is the largest affordable housing production program in Texas. At the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (TxLIHIS) we are expanding our efforts to advocate on behalf of low income families and communities in Texas concerning rules and policies of the LIHTC program.

The following is a statement of ten policies and principles we believe should guide the LIHTC program.

1) Administration of the LIHTC program should be done in a competitive, transparent and honest manner;

2) LIHTCs should promote residential economic integration though high-quality housing developments, with a portion of the housing in each development affordable to families with extremely low incomes;

3) Priority should be placed on producing housing in communities offering low-income residents increased opportunities to succeed socially and economically — communities with high performing public schools, access to good jobs, and high quality public and private services;

4) Housing developments should affirmatively further fair housing opportunities by providing housing choices to lower-income, minority tenants in majority white areas where minority families are significantly underrepresented;

5) Good social and physical design, affordable rents, high quality management and useful tenant services should be required of all LIHTC housing;

6) Housing developments should not be over-subsidized — the public investment should leverages private funding to maximize the number and affordability of the housing and the social return on the public investment;

7) Public investment in LIHTC developments should guarantee the housing is well maintained and affordable for the longest possible time period.

8 ) The LIHTC program should recognize that affordability to residents includes non-rent costs such as utilities, access to community services and transportation.

9) Design and construction of LIHTC housing should protect the tenant’s and the public’s interest in the environmental impact of development through green building and energy efficiency.

10) Housing created under the LIHTC program should enhance the quality and livability of the community in which the housing is built through high quality, community compatible design, proper development size and scale and quality management and maintenance.