New TxLIHIS initiative seeks improvements in housing tax credit program

We are pleased to announce a major new initiative at TxLIHIS.

One of the largest affordable housing programs in Texas is the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC).  In the past year, this program has grown much larger, as much of the housing-related funding from the federal stimulus bill flows through LIHTC-related programs.

These stimulus funds flow through two new programs, the Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) and the Housing Tax Credit Exchange Program (HTC Exchange). While the exact value of housing-related stimulus funds is yet to be determined, it is likely well over half a billion dollars will be spent in Texas through these programs.  Because the programs were established in the stimulus bill, they are on the fast track, with funds scheduled to be awarded and spent by early 2012.

This program expansion occurs as TDHCA, the agency that administers the LIHTC program in Texas, is scheduled to undergo review by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. The sunset process is one of the best opportunities for changing the operations of a state agency.  In the last TDHCA sunset in 2001, TxLIHIS successfully advocated for important reforms related to open government, an emphasis on housing the poor and transparency in the LIHTC program.

We believe the confluence of the stimulus-related focus on the LIHTC program and the TDHCA sunset process is a unique opportunity to improve this important program.  With the help of the Meadows Foundation and the Boone Family Foundation, TxLIHIS is launching an initiative to ensure that the LIHTC funds are used to most effectively house low-income Texas families.

TxLIHIS will significantly expand our expertise on the technical housing finance aspects of this program.  We will use this expertise to continue our active engagement in the public policy development of the program rules to better serve the housing needs of low-income Texans.  Towards this goal, we’re pleased to announce that Kevin Jewell will be working with us on this project.

Kevin is an economic analyst who has broad experience in housing.  He holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Mathematical Economics from Brown University.  Kevin has worked on housing finance in the private sector, valuing multi-family real-estate deals as well as mortgage-backed securities.  He will use this experience to help us dig into the technical details of the finance end of the LIHTC program.

Kevin also has expertise in housing policy development.  He has worked with Consumers Union’s Manufactured Housing Research Project, researching how the structure of the U.S. manufactured housing marketplace affects the accumulation of assets among low-income families and developing policy recommendations for improvements in that market.  Kevin recently began representing TxLIHIS on HUD’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, a federal advisory committee to HUD on regulation of the manufactured housing.

Kevin has also worked for almost a decade with Casa Marianella, an Austin-based transitional housing shelter for newly arrived immigrants and refugees.

We welcome Kevin to the TxLIHIS team and look forward to working with him on this important initiative.

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