HERA Imposed Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Data Collection Requirements
Section 2002 of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 requires HUD to collect certain data for low-income housing tax credit tenants. According to HERA, states are required to submit demographic data including race, disability status, and partial Social Security numbers for each person residing in low-income housing tax credit-financed units on Dec. 31 of the previous year. Specifically, they are required to collect the following data:
Use of Section 8 or similar rental assistance;
Disability status; and
Monthly rental payment.
This year's deadline is approaching for state housing finance agencies (HFAs) to submit their 2010 tenant and property data to HUD. In a letter sent to the HFAs in June, HUD requested that states submit the 2010 data by Sept. 30.
This is the second year that HUD is collecting the tenant data. Compared to the previous year, HUD has increased the bar for data that needs to be collected this year. For example, for 2009-10, HUD didn't specifically require demographic data such as name, age, race, ethnicity, disability status, and the last four digits of the Social Security number on each member of the household; HUD required only a head of household name. This year, HUD is requiring demographic information on all household members.
Collection of this demographic data has become a sensitive issue for some states, and consequently, in response, HUD has modified the options for some of the questions. For example, HUD's original data collection form included only a Yes or No answer to the Disability Status question, but now includes the following instructions regarding identifying disability:
The housing credit agency administering its low-income housing credit program must, to the best of its ability, provide this disability status information, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1437z-8. However, it is the tenant's voluntary choice whether to provide such information, and questions to the tenant requesting the information must so state. If the tenant declines to provide the information, the housing credit agency shall use its best efforts to provide the information, such as by noting the appearance of a physical disability that is readily apparent and obvious, or by relying on a past year's information. For purposes of gathering this information, no questions with respect to the nature or severity of the disability are appropriate.
For 2011 and beyond, HUD has modified the available answers to include “Did Not Respond” to the Race, Ethnicity, and Disability Status questions.
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