Volume 27, Number 2

  March 2019

Federal Government

From The Reading Room

The thirteen essays that appear in Evidence and Innovation in Housing Policy grew out of a conference convened in June 2016 by the Kreisman Initiative on Housing Law and Policy at the University of Chicago. Edited by Professors Lee Anne Fennell of the University of Chicago Law School and Benjamin Keys of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the volume brings together scholars from multiple disciplines and methodologies to confront a range of issues related to housing. Early chapters concentrate on how land use regulations, including historic preservation, constrain new development, reduce supply, and drive up housing costs.

Government Benefits

Forum Annual Meeting Update

The Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law’s Annual Meeting was held May 23–25, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The conference kicked off at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with remarks from HUD General Counsel Paul Compton and an opportunity for leadership in the HUD Office of General Counsel (OGC) to discuss OGC priorities with the private bar. Meanwhile, the Tax Credit Practice Committee held a deep-dive discussion on Qualified Opportunity Zones, introducing attendees to this new technical tool.

Community & Economic Development

Expanding Access to Homeownership as a Means of Fostering Residential Integration and Inclusion

The author of this article seeks to provide ideas of ways to expand the range of housing choices available to lower-income and minority families and individuals by addressing access to homeownership. The article discusses the current barriers to homeownership, evaluates existing policies, and provides policy recommendations aimed at expanding access that would foster greater socioeconomic and racial/ethnic integration of communities. The author’s recommendations are premised on the idea that efforts to make homeownership more attainable have the potential to foster residential integration and inclusion as well.

Affordable Housing and Health


Approaches to Easing the Affordable Housing and Health Care Challenges Seniors Face

Who among us hasn’t heard the phrases “Silver Tsunami” or the “graying of America”? The Pew Research Center reports that 10,000 new seniors will be added to the population every day until 2030.1 As we think about the demographic shift, it is easy to characterize the “senior” population as one big group. But looking closer at this large and growing segment of the U.S. population reveals a diverse and complex group that requires diverse options and solutions.

Bias & Discrimination

Public Housing and Public Health: The Separate and Unequal Protection of Private and Public Housing Tenants’ Health in New York City

News outlets were full of reports of New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) systemic failures at the end of 2017. When questioned whether people who live in public housing deserve the same standard of living as people in private housing, Mayor Bill de Blasio explained “[p]eople in public housing deserve the very best living standard we can give them with themoney we have.”1 This statement both manages to acknowledge the dignity of the tenants and yet still excuses the city’s failure to provide healthy housing.

Affordable Housing

Housing Law Is a Vehicle for Keeping Children Healthy—The HUD Approach

As a former neurosurgeon, I am all too familiar with the effects of lead exposure on the developing brain. Childhood lead poisoning is a clear example of how substandard housing can adversely affect the health of disadvantaged populations. Ever since national level data have been available, children in poor households have been found to be at the highest risk of lead exposure, with black children being at greatest risk among this group. The reduction in childhood lead exposure over the past decades also represents an example of a public health success story resulting from the efforts of sustained and coordinated actions by federal, state, and local governments and non-governmental organizations.


Integrating Health and Supportive Services in Affordable Senior Housing: New Models for Service Coordination

It is well-documented that the population of the United States of people 65 years and older is increasing and living longer. The senior population is currently 49 million and is projected to double to more than 98 million by 2060.1 Most people today will live past the age of 65 and many will surpass the age of 85 years, placing this population at risk of suffering from multiple chronic diseases during their lifetimes. Over the coming years, this drastic increase in the senior population will become a challenge for both the housing and health care systems. For low-income seniors, the issue will be whether the supply of affordable housing and serviceswill meet their needs or not. Moreover, the cost to the government of providing increased health care services to a substantially larger number of low-income seniors has the making of a looming national crisis, unless changes are made to our delivery systems.


Housing as Healthcare: Practical Models to Create Social Impact

For more than 30 years, Mercy Housing Lakefront (MHL) has provided service-enriched housing to individuals and families, many of whom face tremendous health-related barriers to long-term stability, in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Among the residents served by the organization are working families, seniors, and people with special needs (i.e., veterans, those experiencing homelessness, individuals who are HIV positive or have AIDS, and those with disabilities), all of whom lack the economic resources to access quality, safe housing opportunities. Many of these individuals have acute medical needs, including mental health challenges, substance use disorders, and limited mobility, among others. Addressing these challenges requires individualized wraparound support, but MHL’s approach to helping them lead healthy lives always begins by providing them with a safe, stable, and affordable home that can serve as a foundation for a better life.



Why Does My Tax Lawyer Keep Saying We Need Nonrecourse Debt for My Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Project

As anyone who has worked on a transaction involving low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs or Credits) knows, the financial structure of LIHTC transactions becomes very complicated due to the interaction of the LIHTC rules under Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, asamended, and the partnership taxation rules. This essay discusses the basic interaction of those rules using very simplified descriptions in an attempt to make the overall concepts accessible to a non-expert audience. It then addresses a key question that arises in LIHTC transactions: Why does permanent debt generally need to be nonrecourse in transactions involving LIHTC?

Federal Government

Leveraging State and Local Antidiscrimination Laws to Prohibit Discrimination Against Recipients of Federal Rental Assistance

This Article argues that state and local housing antidiscrimination laws should be used to prohibit landlords from categorically excluding Section 8 recipients. Using Minnesota’s antidiscrimination law as an example, this Article explains why these laws prohibit landlords from turning away Section 8 voucher recipients. For affordable housing advocates seeking to defend similar antidiscrimination laws in other states, Minnesota’s legal history on this issue provides a useful example..