While not exactly a household term, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most powerful and effective tools for the creation of affordable housing. Over the last three decades, this program has resulted in more than three million rental homes for working families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. Virtually all affordable rental housing in the United States has been built or rehabilitated with LIHTCs since the program was introduced in 1986.
Why is the program so important? The cost to develop and operate housing far exceeds rents that are affordable to low-income families. Public subsidies and conventional financing get us partway to the finish line, but the beauty of the tax-credit program is that it brings significant volumes of private-sector capital into the mix.
At BRIDGE alone, we’ve developed or rehabbed more than 10,000 apartments using tax credits. At times we have taken it to the next level, such as with Celadon at 9th & Broadway (above) in San Diego, where we used two different types of LIHTCs, plus many additional sources, to create two properties under one roof. The end result: a landmark building with 250 affordable rental apartments that serve a multigenerational population, including special services for frail seniors and youth transitioning out of foster care.
Harvard University’s Joint Center on Housing Studies, which has exhaustively studied the Housing Credit, has concluded that it is “widely regarded as the most successful affordable housing production and preservation program in the nation’s history.” We see its success every day, and our residents do, as well. For Raymond K., a formerly homeless senior who now lives in a BRIDGE apartment, the results are clear: “For the first time in a long time, I know I’ll have enough money each month for food and other necessities.”
We are proud of the program’s track record in serving millions of people who need housing, and we support efforts now underway in Congress and the states that will enable the tax-credit program to do more to address the nation’s affordable housing crisis.