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In Focus

September 2010 - Rental Housing Preservation

In the Toolbox

This issue of In Focus features policies that promote the preservation of affordable rental homes – an approach that has grown in importance as the production of new affordable units has slowed and hundreds of thousands of existing subsidized and unassisted units remain at risk of loss. Preservation of rental properties ensure the ongoing availability of affordable homes that would not likely be replaced through new construction.

States can prioritize rental preservation efforts in their "Qualified Allocation Plan," which lays out the state's affordable housing goals and priorities, including a scoring system that determines which projects will receive Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocations - the primary source of funding for rental preservation efforts. State housing finance agencies distribute LIHTCs to developers or project sponsors, who then sell the tax credit to investors and use the equity as gap financing to develop affordable rental housing.

Some 47 states prioritize the preservation of existing affordable homes in their respective QAPs. This is generally accomplished by reserving a portion of 9 percent tax credits (the larger of the two versions of the LIHTC) for preservation, or by awarding additional points for preservation-related projects under a larger competition.

Read more about the 9 percent tax credit and its role in rental preservation.

"Out Loud" Podcast

This month's Out Loud podcast features an interview with Rob Prasch, Preservation Director at the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing(NOAH). Emily Salomon, research associate at the Center for Housing Policy, talks to Prasch about steps NOAH is taking to preserve affordable rental housing near transit.

Prasch also describes the valuable information gained at the
Partners in Innovation regional preservation forum he attended in Portland, and what he hopes to learn at the upcoming national symposium and regional forum in Denver.

Listen to the Podcast

Solutions in Action

In 2007, a coalition of public, private and nonprofit leaders dedicated to preserving the affordable rental housing stock in the Chicago region established the Preservation Compact. A key effort of the compact was the creation of a Rental Housing Action Plan to preserve 75,000 units of affordable rental housing in Cook County by 2020.

The plan includes a number of innovative elements including an interagency council and a rental housing data clearinghouse. The interagency council will work to better coordinate government programs and improve information flow. The rental housing data clearinghouse will collect and maintain information on both subsidized and unsubsidized stock and serve as an early warning system for properties at risk of leaving the affordable market.

Learn More about this Solution in Action

Share Your Story

At the Partners in Innovation: Preserving Affordable Rental Housing through Energy Conservation regional preservation forum hosted by the National Housing Conference and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Boston on April 14, the following questions were posed during the plenary session: What kinds of energy efficiency performance standards are appropriate for multifamily housing and what kind of monitoring is appropriate to verify effectiveness and guide future investments?

Join our Rental Preservation discussion group on the Forum to respond to this question or add your own. Share your experiences with fellow housing practitioners across the country!

Visit the Forum to Share Your Story


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Join us in Denver to learn about Preservation and Transit-Oriented Development

Next week, NHC, the Center and our partners will be in Denver, CO to host two policy events exploring the intersection of housing and transportation. Partners in Innovation: Including Affordable and Workforce Housing within Transit-Oriented Development, a national symposium on September 27, will examine the challenges and opportunities for developing and sustaining transit-oriented development that includes housing opportunities affordable to individuals and families across a range of incomes. Partners in Innovation: Preserving Affordable Rental Housing Near Transit, a policy forum on September 28, will examine strategies for preserving affordable rental homes near transit. Presentations and other event resources will be available online in early October.

Miss the online registration deadline last week? You can still register on site for the Partners in Innovation in Denver starting at 8:00 a.m. on September 27!

Learn more about Partners in Innovation

Featured Gallery Entry:

Hazel Hill Apartments, Fredericksburg, VA

Photo Courtesy of National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation


July 2010:
Improve Residential Energy Efficiency
May 2010 -
Disaster Resistant Housing
April 2010 -
In Focus: Housing Solutions Week Recap
December 2009 - In Focus: Coordinated Housing and Transportation Policies
September 2009 -
In Focus: Shared Equity Homeownership and Asset Building
July 2009 -
In Focus: Post-Conference Edition
April 2009 - In Focus: Learning Conference
March 2009- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
December 2008- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
November 2008-- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
October 2008-- In Focus: Transit-Oriented Development
September 2008-- In Focus: Inclusionary Zoning
August 2008 -- In Focus: Rental Housing Preservation
July 2008-- In Focus: Shared Equity Homeownership
June 2008 -- In Focus: Green Affordable Housing -- This issue of In Focus kicked off a series of Six Housing Policies for a World of High Energy Costs
May 2008 -- In Focus: Foreclosure Prevention
April 2008 -- In Focus: Employer-Assisted Housing
February 2008
-- was launched in January 2008 as part of Housing Solutions Week. Click here to view materials from the week.