Affordable, Accessible Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Apartments in Pennsylvania. Information Bulletin # 355 (4/2012)
In 2003-04, Philadelphia’s Liberty Resources Center (“CIL”) and Pennsylvania ADAPT met with officials from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (“PHFA”), the state agency that administers the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. The purpose of the meetings was to explain the dire housing needs of low-income persons with disabilities, to advocate for increasing affordable, accessible housing, and to ensure accessible units were actually occupied by people who needed those features.
This Information Bulletin describes the successful results of those advocacy efforts.
In 2005, PHFA first offered incentives to LIHTC housing developers to increase the number of accessible apartments and to make them affordable at 20% of the Area Median Income (AMI). A special internal management fee was made available so housing developers could deeply subsidize units to an affordable level.
As a result of this and other PHFA initiatives, as of 12/31/2011 there were more than 1250 affordable and/or accessible apartments financed with LIHTC (but about half have not been completed or were not occupied at that time) in Pennsylvania.
The 20% AMI affordability structure is based on the goal that these apartments should be affordable to households whose only income is Social Security Income. The SSI level is sufficient to pay rent without being rent “burdened” in 38 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and is within $1000 annual income in 12 additional counties.
PHFA works with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, the Medicaid state agency that is supposed to move people from nursing homes to the community, in their effort to establish local clearinghouse organizations to streamline the process for assuring that appropriate candidates are referred in a timely fashion for specific income, accessibility and service targeted units.
Here are the results:
• Of the 634 accessible units actually occupied (as distinguished from “financed) as of 12/31/2011, 78% were occupied by people needing the accessibility features.
• This means there were 495 affordable, accessible LITCH apartments occupied by 495 people and their families who are on SSI and require an accessible unit.
• 48% of households occupying these units are at or below 20% of the Area Median Income. (This includes persons using housing choice vouchers and other rental assistance resources, as well as the tax credit units affordable at 20% AMI.)
Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues
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