Friday, August 16, 2013

The links between service-enriched housing and the Housing Credit


by Bill Kelly, President, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future

NHC invites guest blog posters to write on important housing topics. The views expressed by guest posters do not necessarily reflect those of NHC or its members.


On August 27, the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum in Columbus, Ohio as part of its effort to promote key elements of the report of its Housing Commission, issued earlier this year. This session will highlight the Commission's recommendations on two key topics. The first is the role of service-enriched housing in enabling residents to improve the quality of their lives The second is protecting and expanding the low-income housing tax credit in recognition of its role in meeting the capital cost of building and maintaining affordable rental housing.

The design of the forum is to feature, with local examples, what the recommendations mean in practice and to continue the thought process for turning the broad ideas of the report into workable programs. Congressman Pat Tiberi of Ohio, who Chairs the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, will deliver the keynote address.

One panel will build on the work of SAHF, its member National Church Residences, and the State of Ohio in making it possible for vulnerable, low-income seniors to age in community settings and for people with disabilities to flourish in such settings, all at lower cost to the health care system and with greater resident satisfaction than in institutional settings. Two other panels will feature discussions of the central role of the tax credit in affordable housing finance and review recent innovations in the use of the credit. In each case, the panel will highlight Ohio examples.

Importantly, these two themes—housing with services and the role of the tax credit—are themselves interrelated. Even as we work to make affordable housing serve needy populations as more than just shelter, we need to build and periodically rehabilitate the physical structures. Developer and investor innovation have made the tax credit, already a proven engine for affordable housing production, into a flexible tool that can finance service enriched housing. It remains to expand the tax credit so that it comes closer to meeting the need and to connect the housing with more reliable funding for essential services, including health and wellness services. The forum is an opportunity to pursue both goals.

Bill Kelly is President of Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), a consortium of national nonprofit affordable housing providers serving 100,000 households in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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