Federal Housing Policy and the Rise of Nonprofit Providers

O'Regan, K. & Quigley, J.M.
Journal for Housing Research, 11(2):297-317.

During the past decade, federal housing policy has shifted to recognize a key role for nonprofit housing providers in providing affordable housing. Two federal programs, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and HOME, are now the primary federal housing production programs, and the legislation governing both programs provides explicit support for nonprofit providers of new housing. This article focuses on these two programs to document the change in emphasis, looking at the extent to which resources flow to nonprofit providers. We explicate the rationale for this shift and speculate on future federal policy toward nonprofits.

We find that both programs channeled sizable shares of their funding to nonprofits throughout the 1990s, in patterns consistent with program design. It is also possible that the scale and form of funding itself has affected the nonprofit sector. Changes in the funding of nonprofits have not been uniform spatially, and the nonprofit sector's share of such funding appears to have leveled off. As currently structured, these programs do little to simplify the complicated financial dealings and multiple sources of funding common among nonprofit housing providers. Shifts in policy priorities and emerging financial stresses may necessitate changes in federal policy toward the nonprofit sector.


Wagner Faculty