While the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is a federal program, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) relies on individual states to administer it. Every year, each state holds public hearings and prepares a Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) outlining its goals and plans for the next year.
The public comment period and hearings are a great opportunity for tribes to make sure their state knows how important the LIHTC program is to Indian Country. Tribal involvement in this process ensures that states acknowledge and understand the often unique aspects of affordable housing in rural areas and on reservations.
For example, last year the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) considered reducing the set-aside for tribal projects, and this year the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) proposed several QAP changes detrimental to tribal projects. Because of an overwhelming tribal response in both states, ADOH kept the tribal set-aside at two projects per year, and WHEDA’s Executive Director, Wyman Winston, toured each reservation in Wisconsin to better understand tribal affordable housing needs.
It is very important to stay informed and pay attention to what your state proposes for future LIHTC allocation rounds. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to subscribe to your state’s email distribution list so you will hear about important deadlines and other information about the LIHTC program.
Travois monitors the QAP process each year and prepares comments when necessary. For example, Travois Chairman David Bland and Chief Operating Officer Marianne Roos attended the Montana Board of Housing hearing last week and offered comments and suggestions to improve access for tribal affordable housing projects. However, input from tribal representatives (including tribal leadership) carries much greater weight and can only help educate states about tribal needs.
We encourage you to participate in the process and make your voice heard!