November 9, 2018
Report shows Impact of Housing Credit Program   in California 

Last month, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PARC) released Balancing Priorities: Preservation and Neighborhood Opportunity in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Beyond Year 30. This comprehensive and well-researched report found that nationally, nearly half a million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) homes are at risk of being lost by 2030. In contrast, the California Housing Partnership published The Tax Credit Turns 30 in December 2017 and concluded that only 45 developments (1.1%) containing 1,568 affordable homes (0.5%) are currently at high or very high risk of conversion over the next five years in California. How do we reconcile these two very different findings (beyond the fact that the first report used a 10-year window and the second a five-year window)?
While Balancing Priorities is a very informative and useful publication for assessing the risk of loss of this precious affordable housing stock nationally, conditions in California - where organizations like the California Housing Partnership have been focused on preserving existing affordable housing for more than 30 years and have had strong leadership from our state allocating agency - are substantially different and require a different analysis to accurately assess risk.
The California Housing Partnership report begins by looking back to the beginnings of the program in 1987 to identify what factors were most predictive of affordable housing being converted to market rate or preserved. The two most predictive factors were (1) the presence or absence of other regulatory protections and (2) control by mission-driven nonprofit compared to control by profit-seeking entities. The report then applies these two risk factors to analyze the status of the state's remaining LIHTC homes and concludes that the number of LIHTC homes at-risk in California is substantially smaller.
The number of at-risk affordable homes in each report also differ due to the 'false positives' in Balancing Priorities because NLIHC and PARC were unable to track the voluntary extensions of affordability enacted by states like California beyond the thirty-year federal minimum instituted in 1990. The California Housing Partnership's Tax Credit Turns 30 was able to rule out immediate risk for most of the state's LIHTC developments because the developers agreed to 55-year affordability restrictions even before it became mandatory statewide in 2000.
Danielle Mazzella, Preservation & Data Manager
The California Housing Partnership continues to closely monitor and assess the conversion risk of California's affordable housing stock through our Preservation Database and Clearinghouse, which is the most comprehensive source of information on subsidized affordable rental housing in the state and includes all HUD subsidized properties, USDA Section 515 rural properties, properties financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits as well as properties financed by state programs.

For more information about our risk assessment or at-risk affordable housing in your region and how we use the database to identify affordable properties at risk of conversion, please contact Danielle Mazzella, Preservation & Data Manager,  or at 415-433-6804 x322 .