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Affordable Housing Program Costs More, Shelters Fewer

May 12, 2017

Laura Sullivan and Meg Anderson : npr – excerpt (includes audio and video clips)

Heard on All Things Considered(more)

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/527046451/527640475

This story was produced in partnership with the PBS series Frontline.

The episode investigates the billions spent on housing low-income people, and why so few get the help they need.

From Frontline: How We Did The Math

From Frontline: A Housing Affordability Crisis That’s Worse for the Lowest Income Americans

From NPR: Section 8 Vouchers Help The Poor — But Only If Housing Is Available

WATCH ‘Poverty, Politics and Profit’

In a joint investigation, NPR — together with the PBS series Frontline — found that with little federal oversight, LIHTC has produced fewer units than it did 20 years ago, even though it’s costing taxpayers 66 percent more in tax credits.

In 1997, the program produced more than 70,000 housing units. But in 2014, fewer than 59,000 units were built, according to data provided by the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

Industry representatives don’t dispute the numbers; they say these trends are the result of rising construction costs, decreasing federal dollars that funded other housing subsidy programs, and stricter state requirements to build homes for the lowest-income households. They also say the business is less profitable than it used to be.

But NPR and Frontline also found that little public accounting of the costs exists, even among government officials and regulators charged with monitoring the program. Some key lawmakers say that needs to change… (more)

Rise in tax dollars is buying less housing but only around 40% of this is attributable to rising construction costs.

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