LIHTC (often pronounced lie-tech) is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and it provides a federal tax credit to investors in affordable housing. It creates billions of dollars of investment in affordable housing both in urban and rural areas across the United States. Since its inception in 1987, the program has supported the development, rehab and preservation of 2.6 million units of affordable rental housing in the U.S. I am one of the nearly 100,000 jobs created annually from the program as it stimulated $15 billion in housing investment, and generates $7 billion in local income. The LIHTC program accounts for virtually all of the U.S. affordable housing development.
Green, Sustainability and LIHTC
I worked on my first LIHTC project in 2012. Our state agency, Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) was including green and sustainable building practices in the project applications and I was the green consultant. When the project was awarded, we went to work on the “green plan” to ensure the project met the requirements for green home certification for remodel projects. We also provided the online owners’ manual as part of the green requirements and good practice.
Green and sustainability in affordable housing offers both financial and living benefits for both the owner/operator and the residents. The first benefit most people think of is lower utility costs for the residents. This benefit alone makes sense to me since it helps make affordable housing more affordable. Residents will also benefit from the improved comfort, health and safety of green and energy-efficient housing. Less obvious benefits may accrue to the owner/operator in additional reduced maintenance and operation costs from the use of more durable building materials and finishes requiring less replacement, repair and upkeep. Resident education and involvement in green and sustainable activities also offers opportunities for engagement in the housing community. Other less obvious benefits may show up too.
Tying it all Together
I attended our state agency’s developer workshop last week to learn more about the bigger picture of our LIHTC program in Missouri. My green consulting and being a Missouri Certified WBE (Woman Business Enterprise) has earned me work on several projects over the last few years. As a green consultant, I am typically involved primarily in the design and building phases. It was fascinating to learn about the bigger picture and all of the parties and entities involved to make one of these projects a reality. My big take-away was that I realized working in affordable housing is 1 way to tie together my service to women, housing and green!
To learn more about what I know about LIHTC (or don’t know)…leave a comment or drop me a line marla@HomeNav.com.
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