The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced an agreement to resolve a discrimination complaint against the fairness of the Maryland's Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.
The agreement is a result of a complaint filed with HUD in 2011 by the Baltimore Regional Housing Campaign (BRHC), a coalition of housing and civil rights organizations.
HUD’s report noted that the coalition’s complaint alleged that requiring local jurisdiction pre-approval prevented the placement of LIHTC-funded properties in predominately White areas, thereby limiting housing opportunities for African American and Hispanic families in communities of opportunity.
The agreement establishes more flexible program rules in an effort to provide equal and fair housing opportunities by creating affordable housing in higher opportunity neighborhoods in the Baltimore region.
According to HUD, the settlement will specifically “increase the number of affordable housing units in the region by as many as 1,500, with more than 1,000 of those units being new construction.” In addition, “developers of affordable housing will no longer have to satisfy previously required local scoring or approval criteria before applying for state-allocated tax credits.”
Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity of HUD Anna Maria Farías said that the skyrocketing housing prices in the Baltimore region are making it harder than ever for hardworking families to find decent housing at prices they can afford.
“Today’s agreement will help ensure that people of all backgrounds who call this area home have more affordable housing options in higher opportunity neighborhoods,” said Farías.
BRHC said the state maintained a policy requiring local jurisdictions to approve proposed affordable housing projects prior to the consideration or allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to fund construction.
Click here to view all of HUD’s new terms of the agreement.