Report finds that affordable housing program provides limited choice and opportunity for low-income, African-American families.

News Release

August 16, 2016

Almost all affordable rental housing developed through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program for families has been placed in highly-segregated, high poverty areas of Ohio. The LIHTC program has also cut back on the development of housing that serves families with children.  These are the findings of a new report prepared for Ohio legal aid and fair housing programs by Abt Associates, a national research firm with expertise in housing.

People on low incomes continue to find it more difficult to find housing they can afford. The LIHTC program is designed to provide families access safe and affordable housing.  It helps non-profit and for-profit developers finance affordable housing through federal tax breaks, and it is administered in Ohio by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

    • According to the report – in Ohio, only 3.8% of LIHTC family units are in census areas with a poverty rate of less than 10%.
    • In the Columbus area, there is a concentration of LIHTC units in census areas in which more than 75% of the population is African-American. While such census tracts only include 3% of the Columbus area’s housing units, 20.4% of LIHTC units are placed in these extremely segregated census tracts.  More than a third of LIHTC family units are in areas of highly concentrated poverty despite the fact that only 7.5% of all housing is in these census tracts.

“We serve clients who need and want to live where they can have access to opportunities for their families,” explains Janet Hales, Director of the Ohio Poverty Law Center. “Where a child lives during their formative years has a profound influence on their future opportunities. Limiting LIHTC housing only to the poorest and the most segregated areas undermines a parent’s ability to have any choice about giving their children opportunities that will help them succeed.  LIHTC housing could be a vehicle for providing people with choices rather than limiting those choices to neighborhoods of deep poverty and segregation.”

For the full news release and Abt Report, click here.