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Citizens' Housing and Planning Association: Strengthening Housing Investments for Community Revitalization – A Multifaceted Research Study - February 2017

Strengthening Housing Investments for Community Revitalization – A Multifaceted Research Study - February 2017

STRENGTHENING HOUSING INVESTMENTS FOR COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION: Research for Massachusetts Policy and Practice concludes that enlisting affordable housing production as part of the revitalization of distressed neighborhoods ‘makes sense.’   Research from across the country demonstrates that producing Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) housing in high poverty neighborhoods positively impacts the immediate surrounding neighborhood – in terms of modest property value gains and increased safety.  Here in Massachusetts, developers of diverse stripes are enlisting housing for neighborhood improvement in distressed neighborhoods within both Gateway Cities and Boston, while producing valuable housing for residents and amidst the profound headwind of the economic downturn.  Rather than following a set recipe, developers striving for neighborhood revitalization are responsive to surrounding market conditions, the existing community revitalization effort, and their own organizational capacity and priorities.  Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) embraces the notion of housing-driven community revitalization.  This paper provides recommendations to consider for sharpening goals and tools to advance community revitalization, particularly through the Qualified Allocation Plan. 

This multi-faceted study included a systematic literature review of neighborhood spillovers from LIHTC developments across the country, a case study of three revitalization-focused developments here in Massachusetts, and a policy analysis of DHCD’s revitalization goals and processes for its housing investments.  The study was conducted by Keri-Nicole Dillman, PhD with staff support from Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association's Ann Verrilli, in partnership with the DHCD – it was made possible by contributions from The Boston Foundation, DHCD, and CHAPA.  The research team worked with a broad-based panel of advisors including housing and community development advocacy organizations, intermediaries, state and quasi-public agencies, non-profit and for-profit developers, municipal officials, regional planners, fair housing advocates, academics, foundations, and others.

The study is timely, as Congress is considering changes to the corporate tax rate that may affect the value of LIHTC subsidies.   It also coincides with new guidance and a request for comments by the Internal Revenue Service on the LIHTC statutory requirement that allocating agencies give a preference to projects in low-income areas (“qualified census tracts”) that will advance a “concerted community revitalization plan (CCRP).”  The coalition of national groups recently submitted comments on the CCRP requirements and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) will soon release a version of its CCRP recommendations as a best-practices document for use by state policymakers and advocates.

Click here for the executive summary.

Click here for the full report.

Research & Reports
The Boston Foundation, DHCD, and CHAPA
Thursday, March 9, 2017