Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Boosts Health Policy

Integrating Health and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Policy Should be Bipartisan Goal

A November 27, 2017 Roll Call opinion piece, “Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Boosts Health Policy” makes the case that “Better integration of health and housing policy should be a bipartisan goal.”

Anand Parekh, M.D., chief medical adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center and
Caitlin Krutsick, project manager for the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Prevention Initiative wrote the opinion piece.

Historically, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) has had strong bipartisan support.

“This $8 billion in annual federal funding provides incentives for investors to develop, construct and rehabilitate affordable rental housing. It has helped finance more than 3 million affordable rental units serving about 7 million low-income households since it was created in 1986.”

The tax reform plan passed by the House before the Thanksgiving recess and the Senate Finance Committee’s approved tax plan show continued support for the LIHTC.

Parekh and Krutsick write, “The evidence is building that housing affordability, the neighborhood’s environment and conditions within the home are all important determinants of health. This has stimulated states and affordable housing development agencies to begin looking at ways LIHTC may be used to improve health. Therefore, we strongly support greater federal investment in this important program.”

Additionally, “Research suggests that families with high housing cost burdens are unable to spend money on necessary health care services, prescriptions and nutritious food, and therefore often have poorer self-reported health, higher prescription drug nonadherence rates and lower food security than their peers with lower housing costs.” Affordable housing created with the help of the LIHTC prevents families from becoming homeless, helps children do better in school and allows parents to maintain employment.

Supportive housing which combines affordable rental housing with available support services has shown time and time again that it can help families stabilize their lives.

“One study showed that this combination of housing and services could save an average of $6,000 a year, per person, in health care costs.”

Parekh and Krusick conclude “Strengthening the connection between LIHTC and positive health impacts can provide a powerful new argument for greater federal investment in this important program. Promoting better integration of health and housing policy should be a desirable bipartisan goal.”

Op-Ed in Roll Call

Bipartisan Policy Center

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