Texas LIHTC housing program rocked by second earthquake in two months

Reporter Karisa King’s full Texas housing story is out in the San Antonio Express News. It is a devastating expose of the Texas Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. $9.7 billion in federal funds have been spent by the State of Texas that has on balance enhanced racial and ethnic segregation through the State’s administration of the principal housing program.

Read the story in the San Antonio-Express News via Affordable housing fenced into poor areas – San Antonio Express-News.

The chart below tells you almost everything you need to know about her research. This can no longer be tolerated as a benign matter. This is an ongoing major violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that a number of developers and advocates have complained about for years. We issued a report in December 2010, which I presented to the TDHCA board that produced only minor changes in the State’s LIHTC program.

Today’s story in the Express News, the Texas Tribune and the New York Times sets the evidence squarely in front of everyone.

This is the second earthquake to strike the Texas LIHTC program in just two months. The first was the federal judge’s decision in the Dallas LIHTC segregation case which found the State had produced housing segregation through the program, albeit not on purpose. The Texas Legislature put in place the law that steers developers to poor and minority neighborhoods to avoid having their projects in non-minority neighborhoods killed by community opposition. Today’s story paints this effect of this State law with devastating clarity.

The other major findings in the SA Express News story are:

  • Of the 193,000 tax-credit units subsidized statewide, 78 percent are in census tracts where more than half of all residents are minorities. By comparison, only 59 percent of all rented apartments are in the same areas, according to census data.
  • Roughly 31 percent of the units across the state are in neighborhoods with high concentrations of minority residents — 90 percent or more — which is about twice the rate for all rental housing.
  • Eighty percent of the low-income apartments, but only 64 percent of all rented units, are in poor census tracts where residents earned less than the state median household income, $49,646.
  • A study by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2009 ranked Texas fourth in the nation for placing tax-credit apartments in areas where more than half of the residents were minorities.
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