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A Baden School sign still greets residents and visitors at the Baden School Apartments. St. Louis received nearly $50 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to help fund $100 million in affordable housing construction, renovation and preservation.

 

The city of St. Louis announced Tuesday it received nearly $50 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to help fund $100 million in affordable housing construction, renovation and preservation of nearly 600 units. 

This funding is part of an ongoing national program that has allowed for the construction or rehabilitation of about 110,000 affordable rental units across the country each year since 1986. 

LIHTC funds are distributed to developers on the condition that rents do not exceed 30% of the area median income where the units are, and the tax credits are not actually made available to investors until the housing project is placed in service. At that point, they can be claimed over a 10-year period.

LIHTC funding requires units remain affordable for at least 30 years after they are placed into service.

In a press release from Mayor Tishaura Jones’ office, this round of funding was framed as a direct response to the lack of affordable housing–particularly accessible housing for currently-unhoused individuals–in St. Louis city. 

“Expanding affordable housing is critical for St. Louis working families,” Jones said. “Addressing root causes of crime like housing instability will make St. Louis safer, and the resources my administration has procured will help increase the availability of affordable housing in our city.”

The housing units being funded are located at The Brewery Apartments (139 rehab units), Baden School Apartments (50 rehab units), Hillvale Apartments (146 rehab units), Marquette Homes (60 new and rehab units), Metropolitan Village Apartments (147 rehab units), Elliot Place (39 new units), and 48 Fields Place at Natural Bridge (50 new units). 

This announcement comes a month after an “Affordable Housing Report Card” was released by the nonprofit group Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, which gave the region a grade of “F” in affordable housing for Black households, renters, and people with the lowest income. That report identified a need for 35,000 more rental units in the rent bracket below $549/month than currently exist. Renters affected, they said, are those with an annual income no higher than $22,400, who make up about 27% of all renters in the region. 

LIHTC-subsidized housing is one of the primary forms of affordable housing in the St. Louis area, along with housing vouchers, section 8 rental assistance, section 202 rentals, and public housing. About 83% of the people renting subsidized housing units in the St. Louis area are Black, and 62% of LIHTC units are in majority-Black areas, according to the Community Builders Network study. 

As a member of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s House America initiative, Jones’ administration is partnering with HUD and the US Interagency Council on Homelessness. According to a press release, the partnership is “working to add new units of affordable housing into the development pipeline by December 31, 2022.”

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