Page 20 - Balancing Priorities
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BALANCING PRIORITIES: Preservation and Neighborhood Opportunity in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program Beyond Year 30 A fully-funded voucher program, however, comes with signi cant challenges. Voucher recipients experience discrimination, especially in markets without source of income protections (Cunningham et al., 2018; Graves, 2016; Metzger, 2014). And vouchers do not provide recipients assistance with security deposits or moving costs, two potential  nancial barriers to moving. Research on Tenant Protection Vouchers for tenants in expiring project-based Section 8 properties suggests limits to the utility of vouchers as a safety net from expiring subsidies, particularly for seniors, black heads of household, and large households (Reina & Winter, 2017). Other research  nds that voucher holders tend to live in higher poverty neighborhoods than LIHTC tenants (Ellen et. al., 2018; McClure, 2006). They, however, live in lower poverty neighborhoods than tenants in other HUD programs and unassisted poor households (Ellen, 2017). Further steps are needed to improve voucher utilization rates and access to higher opportunity neighborhoods for voucher holders. A federal ban on source of income discrimination (i.e. refusing to rent to voucher holders), mobility counseling, and assistance with security deposits and other moving costs may increase voucher utilization and access to higher opportunity neighborhoods (Cunningham et. al., 2018; Myhre & Watson, 2017; Freeman, 2012; Finkel and Buron, 2001). Outreach by Public Housing Authorities and mobility advocates to educate and recruit landlords may also expand housing choice for voucher holders (Ellen, 2017). Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) also offer the potential to improve access to higher opportunity neighborhoods by providing greater assistance (higher payment standards) in higher-cost neighborhoods and less assistance (lower payment standards) in lower-cost neighborhoods. HUD found that SAFMRs generally increase the number of units available to voucher holders in high-rent zip codes, though they appear to decrease the number of units available to voucher holders in low-rent zip codes (Finkel et al., 2017). If enacted, the bipartisan Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act of 2018 (HR 5793) would provide resources to implement and study strategies to enhance voucher utilization and mobility, including: landlord recruitment, mobility counseling, and assistance with security deposits. Vouchers work best in rental markets where the demand from voucher holders can be met with the current housing stock and the market is responsive to further demand by increasing supply. Voucher utilization rates are lower in tighter housing markets (Finkel & Buron, 2001). Deeply targeted production subsidies are needed in tighter and unresponsive housing markets. Production subsidies might also better serve certain populations that have lower success rates with vouchers, such as families of  ve or more members who face dif culty securing appropriately large rental units, single adults, and seniors residing in metropolitan areas (Khadduri et al., 2003). Production subsidies can also play a role in improving or preserving the quality of the housing stock as part of a broader community development effort. Given the challenges of the LIHTC program highlighted in this report and the continued need for production subsidies to supplement the voucher program, other housing production programs are also needed to reinvest and expand our current stock of affordable housing. Funding should be expanded for other supply- side programs like the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and public housing, programs that target the nation’s lowest income families and hard-to-serve populations. The national HTF is a block grant to states for the production, preservation, or rehabilitation of housing for the lowest income households. At least 90% of national HTF money must be used for rental housing, and at least 75% of rental funds must bene t extremely low-income renters with NATIONAL LOW INCOME HOUSING COALITION AND THE PUBLIC AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING RESEARCH CORPORATION 20 

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