Poverty, Politics and Profit

Source: Frontline and NPR, 2017

An investigation into the billions spent on housing low-income people, and why so few get the help they need. The film examines the politics, profits and problems of an affordable housing system in crisis.

Related:
Affordable Housing Program Costs More, Shelters Fewer
Source: Laura Sullivan, Meg Anderson, NPR, May 9, 2017

…..Thirty years ago, Eldridge was the type of person Congress sought to help when it created the low-income housing tax credit program, which is now the government’s primary program to build housing for the poor. But the tax-credit building that’s only a little more than 2 miles from Eldridge’s house, where she might pay as little as $200 or $300 in rent based on her income, has a waiting list up to four years long. In Dallas and nationwide, many of these buildings don’t have any vacancies. In a joint investigation, NPR — together with the PBS series Frontline — found that with little federal oversight, LIHTC has produced fewer units than it did 20 years ago, even though it’s costing taxpayers 66 percent more in tax credits. In 1997, the program produced more than 70,000 housing units. But in 2014, fewer than 59,000 units were built, according to data provided by the National Council of State Housing Agencies…..

In America’s Affordable Housing Crisis, More Demand but Less Supply
Source: Patrice Taddonio, Frontline, May 9, 2017

More and more Americans are struggling to make rent. Each year, an estimated 2.5 million people across the country are evicted. Today, in a joint investigation called Poverty, Politics and Profit, FRONTLINE and NPR join forces to examine the crisis in affordable housing, exploring why so few people are getting the help they need, and whether government programs designed to aid low-income Americans with rent are working as they should. One of those programs, called the low-income housing tax credit, relies on partnerships between the federal government and the private sector. The IRS gives billions in tax credits to the states, who then award the credits to developers. The developers sell them for cash to investors, mostly banks, and then use that money to help build apartment buildings. And because taxpayer money pays for most of it, they can charge the lower rents required…..