HUD Publishes Annual Report on Housing Credit Tenant Characteristics

HUD recently published "Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2015," providing demographic data about Housing Credit tenants, including race, ethnicity, family composition, age, income, use of rental assistance, disability status, and monthly rent burden. The publication of this data is required annually under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008.

While Congress authorized funding for this initiative in HERA, it never appropriated those funds. Therefore, the states and HUD have been forced to use existing resources to meet the law’s requirements. Each year, the data is becoming more complete; however, for various reasons—such as lack of certain data for properties in the extended-use period, states previously accepting data in hard copy for smaller properties as opposed to electronically, the process of converting or hand entering information into electronic compliance and reporting systems, and the lack of income recertification data from tenants in Housing Credit properties in which all units are rent restricted, as allowed by law—the data in this report remains incomplete. This year, HUD could match nearly 90 percent of the units reported by states under the HERA requirement with properties in HUD’s Placed in Service database.

The median annual income of Housing Credit tenant households was $17,470, only slightly higher than the median annual income reported by HUD the prior year. Nearly 45 percent of households were extremely low income, earning 30 percent or less of area median income (AMI); 34 percent were very low income, earning between 30 and 50 percent of AMI; and the remaining 21 percent earned over 50 percent of AMI. Sixty-one percent of Housing Credit tenants paid 30 percent or less of their income for rent. Another 28 percent paid between 30 and 50 percent of their income for rent, while 8.6 percent paid over 50 percent of their income for rent. In two percent of the cases, rent burden could not be calculated. Approximately 38 percent of households reported receiving rental assistance, 33 percent reported they did not receive rental assistance, and 29 percent did not provide information on whether they receive rental assistance.

The report found that 21.2 percent of Housing Credit tenants identified their race as white, 21.5 percent identified as black or African American, 11.4 percent identified as Hispanic, 2.5 percent identified as Asian, and 1 percent identified as either American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander. Approximately 41 percent of respondents did not report race or ethnicity, as allowed under fair housing laws.

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