Report examines the catalysts, challenges, and resources needed that impact HFAs in collecting, maintaining, and reporting LIHTC property data necessary for preservation efforts
Washington, DC – NLIHC and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) released today a joint report, Improving Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Data for Preservation. The report shows the need for improvements in the quality of property-level Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) data and the public accessibility of these data. Such improvements are necessary to support the identification of specific properties where preservation efforts are needed to protect tenants and to better understand the nature and scale of preservation risks facing the LIHTC stock.
“LIHTC is the largest national affordable housing program in the U.S., and it is essential that LIHTC units be preserved to ensure that low-income tenants around the country have safe, stable, and affordable housing,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “The new report supports efforts to preserve LIHTC units by identifying the hurdles faced by HFAs and other organizations when it comes to collecting comprehensive and reliable data about the LIHTC housing stock.”
HUD’s LIHTC Database is an essential public resource for data on LIHTC properties. Yet HUD faces impediments incorporating key data into its database for assessing LIHTC preservation risks, such as data on restriction end dates, qualified contract (QC) waivers, and information on ownership changes. The new report examines the extent to which housing finance agencies (HFAs) provide these data at the state and local levels and analyzes the catalysts, challenges, and resources they need that impact their ability to collect, maintain, and report LIHTC property data to HUD and the wider public.
Using a comprehensive review of HFA websites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as interviews with staff from 25 HFAs, the report finds that 93 percent of HFAs post some form of property-level LIHTC data on their websites, but that property-level data publicly posted by HFAs are generally limited to what these agencies already report to HUD’s LIHTC Database. Key preservation indicators – such as restriction end dates, the presence of QC waivers, and up-to-date information on property ownership – are largely absent from HFA websites.
The majority of the 25 HFAs interviewed mentioned that they collect data on these preservation indicators, but generally make this data available to the public by request. Fostering a culture around data, bolstering data management and technology practices, boosting staff capacity, building relationships, and leveraging statutory and regulatory requirements were catalysts that positioned these agencies to collect this data.
The report also finds that LIHTC data are often siloed across various teams and systems within HFAs, creating challenges when it comes to providing comprehensive information to stakeholders about specific LIHTC properties. The fact that data are siloed can also complicate the construction of centralized, property-level databases, which are needed to effectively plan for preservation. Additional investments from Congress and state legislators to expand staff and support technology advancements could help HFAs streamline, automate, and centralize property-level LIHTC data.
“The role of HFAs in collecting, sharing, and analyzing data on LIHTC properties to inform preservation efforts grows each year, as more housing tax credits are allocated and existing properties reach the end of their affordability restrictions,” said Kelly McElwain, lead research analyst at PAHRC and an author of the report. “We hope that this report provides a roadmap to help HFAs and affordable housing stakeholders expand access to data on LIHTC properties and catalyze data-driven preservation initiatives.”
Improving Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Data for Preservation is available at: https://bit.ly/3V84BkE
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