HUD: LIHTC Program Continues to Help Vulnerable Households
In late March, HUD released the latest annual report that analyzes LIHTC household data collected as a result of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) passed in 2008. Among other things, HERA requires each housing finance agency (HFA) that administers the LIHTC to submit certain demographic and economic information on tenants in LIHTC units. HUD collects information about race, ethnicity, family composition, age, income, use of rental assistance, disability status, and monthly rental payments. The latest report is its fifth release and covers data of LIHTC sites placed in service through Dec. 31, 2017. The report is called “Understanding Whom LIHTC Serves.”
Once again, the data shows that demand for LIHTC units has consistently remained high. The vacancy rate of reported units was approximately 4.5 percent. For 2014 and 2015, the reported vacancy rate was approximately 4 percent. No report was made for 2016, but according to HUD, the median income for reporting LIHTC households in 2017 was $17,943. This was a slight increase from $17,470 in 2015.
The report shows that the LIHTC program continues to serve residents who are categorized as extremely low income at a high, consistent level. The report found that 44.4 percent of LIHTC households in 2017 earned 30 percent or less of the area median income, and 44.2 percent of LIHTC households paid more than 30 percent of their income to rent. In 2015, 44.5 percent of LIHTC households earned 30 percent or less of the area median income, and 43.3 percent of LIHTC households paid more than 30 percent of their income to rent.
Race and Ethnic Trends
The distribution in race in LIHTC units remains about approximately the same. The black and white populations make up the majority of LIHTC residents, with Hispanic tenants comprising the third largest category. The specific demographic numbers saw an increase, but this may be due to the increase in the reporting of this data in 2017. In 2015, 41.4 percent of LIHTC properties didn’t report race and ethnicity, which is much higher than the non-response rate of 19.9 percent in 2017.
According to the numbers, the most common federal rental assistance received by LIHTC residents was HUD Housing Choice Vouchers. Overall, 39.9 percent of LIHTC residents were receiving some form of rental assistance in 2017, which is slightly higher than the reported 37.9 percent of tenants in 2015. The percentage of LIHTC residents not receiving rental assistance in 2017 was 35.3 percent, and in 2015, 33.2 percent of residents didn’t receive rental assistance.
According to the report, the number of LIHTC residents with disabilities increased from 2015 to 2017. In 2017, 83.5 percent of LIHTC households provided disability information and 12.1 percent of households had at least one member reported as disabled. Both of these percentages are higher than the numbers reported for 2015, when 80.6 percent of households reported disability information and 9.5 percent had at least one member reported as disabled.