The Forest House Apartments in the Bronx, recipient of LIHTC

Housing Policy: A Closer Look

Earlier this month, AIANY released a series of position statements to create foundational tools to refer back to as critical issues arise at the federal level. In collaboration with AIANY’s Housing Committee, the statement on Housing discussed the role of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the nation’s public housing system, and the impacts of federal polcies on New York City. Building off that work, we’re taking a closer look at the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), one of the most important resources for creating affordable housing in the United States today.

Created by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the LIHTC is the nation’s largest subsidy for the construction of affordable rental housing for low-income households, creating 43,092 developments with approximately 2.78 million units across the country between 1987 and 2014. The LIHTC program gives state and local agencies the equivalent of nearly $8 billion in annual budget authority to issue tax credits for the acquisition, rehabilitation, or new construction of rental housing targeted to lower-income households.

In New York City, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) administers the LIHTC to help building owners rehabilitate their properties, preserve housing quality, and finance the creation of thousands of affordable units every year. This includes single and multi-family housing, senior housing, and supportive housing for formerly homeless and disabled individuals. Typically, HPD allocates $12-14 million in credits per year to 20 or more projects, creating approximately 1,000 low income units. The department awards credits to new construction or substantial rehabilitation projects in New York City where at least 20% of apartments are reserved for low-income households. All 1,843 properties in New York City receiving LITHC can be viewed on this interactive map.

The LIHTC is designed to subsidize either 30% or 70% of the low-income unit costs in a project. The 30% subsidy, which is known as the ‘as-of right’ 4% credit, covers construction that uses additional subsidies. The 70% subsidy, or 9% credit, supports new construction without any additional federal subsidies. HPD holds an annual competitive funding round for the 9% credits, while it allocates the 4% credits throughout the year. For more in-depth research on the LITHC and its impact in New York City, check out the NYU Furman Center’s collection of research and reports.

Pulse Points

  • On 02.10.17, the AIANY Architecture for Education Committee met with officials at the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA) as part of their quarterly taskforce meeting. The taskforce regularly meets with the goal of developing strategies for more streamlined processes and more effective collaborations between architects and the SCA. This most recent meeting focused on the procurement and construction process and featured Gordon Tung, the Senior Director of Construction at SCA.
  • On 02.13.17, AIANY hosted the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) and the city’s Urban Heat Island Mitigation Working Group. The discussion session brought together practicing architects and city officials to identify potential building-level policy solutions and innovations that could maximize ventilation, reduce indoor temperatures, and mitigate the neighborhood urban heat island effect. Currently, the city’s Urban Heat Island Mitigation Working Group is focused on the cooling potential of three intervention areas: roofs, pavements and building-level design and engineering.
  • Urban Green Council has invited AIANY members to evaluate the usefulness, impact, and barriers for 20 potential new products in a short survey. The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete, and all participants will be entered in a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card. We hope you will participate in the survey and take this opportunity to influence how NYSERDA runs their R&D program to develop the green building materials and techniques of the future. We want the opinions of our members to be part of this critical discussion.
  • The NYC Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) STEAM education initiative, is accepting applications for its upcoming summer internship programs. The agency will select 30 students from public and private high schools across the five boroughs to participate in a six-week summer internship program that will provide students an opportunity to explore careers in the fields of architecture, engineering, construction, design, law, business administration, and finance from the perspective of the public sector. DDC will also offer a ten-week paid summer internship program for college and graduate students to gain hands-on technical experience and a mentoring relationship with senior-level staff.