For the first time, HUD has made available data on the characteristics of tenants living in properties funded through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2012 was released on January 13, presenting information on the race, disability status, family composition, and income of tenants living in LIHTC-assisted units.
The state agencies that administer the LIHTC program have been required to submit demographic and economic data on tenants to HUD since 2008. However, due to the wide variations in data collection efforts by the state agencies, this is the first time HUD has been able to release these data to the public. Of the sixty state agencies, two did not provide tenant data at all (District of Columbia and New Mexico). In addition, suballocators in Illinois and New York did not submit tenant data, resulting in incomplete data for those two states. Finally, some data points are not available for every state, and some states were not able to submit data on every property in their portfolios. The amount and kinds of missing data limits comparisons among the states.
Household income must be reported annually by owners of LIHTC properties to remain in compliance with program requirements. The overall median annual income of households living in LIHTC units was $17,066, ranging from $8,769 in Kentucky to $22,241 in Florida. By comparison, the median income of HUD-assisted tenants was $10,272 in 2012. Approximately 60% of reported households nationwide had incomes below $20,000.
The study found that approximately 39% of all LIHTC households paid more than 30% of their income for rent, thus making them housing cost burdened. Ten percent of all LIHTC households faced a severe housing cost burden, paying more than 50% of their income towards rent. In 23 states, HUD was able to collect some data on the use of rental assistance in LIHTC units, which can eliminate cost burden for households who have it. Approximately half of reported households receive some form of rental assistance, with the greatest use in Vermont (64%) and least use in Nevada (23%).
HUD and the state agencies will continue to improve data collection methods and will now report these data publicly on a regular basis.
The report, entitled Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2012 is available at http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/hsgfin/understanding_LIHTC.html
More information about the LIHTC program is on page 254 of NLIHC’s 2014 Advocates’ Guide, http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/2014AG-254.pdf