A Proposal to Protect and Expand Affordable Housing Construction Using the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
Ensuring that every American can afford a safe and decent dwelling is a stated policy goal of the United States federal government. Congress appropriates billions of dollars every year to provide housing vouchers to low-income persons, and to construct and preserve affordable housing. However, the number of people who are unable to afford housing as a reasonable part of their budget is growing every year. Unaffordable housing can stretch other necessities in a budget, cause hypermobility resulting in underachievement in school, and negatively affect the health of low-income persons. Given the political and policy environment in Washington, these problems are at risk of becoming more severe. This capstone proposes reforms to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program to boost the construction of affordable housing stock. Analyzing quantitative and qualitative evidence, it argues this proposal achieves the stated policy and political goals for the principal. Specifically, it would increase the production of affordable housing units, and appeal to targeted political constituencies in Senator Sherrod Brown’s home state. Professor Paul Weinstein, Director of the Public Management Program, acted as the advisor for this capstone paper.