Advocating for changes in your state through the QAP process
Becoming involved in the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) process is a way to advocate for changes to the LIHTC program in your state. Each state tax credit allocating agency develops a QAP to set priorities and criteria for how it will award tax credits taking into account the affordable housing needs of the state. Every state agency must review their QAP annually. The reviews must be properly noticed and include a public hearing and an opportunity for public comment.
A QAP may contain either preferences or set-asides to ensure that its priorities are met. With preferences, a housing finance agency awards extra points when scoring applications to proposals that meet certain desired characteristics, such as longer use restrictions or deeper affordability. Set-asides are funds specifically allocated to certain kinds of projects, such as housing for disabled persons or veterans. Advocates can engage in the QAP process to ensure that additional priorities are added. For example, an advocate could push for the QAP to favor proposed LIHTC projects that would preserve affordable housing, projects that would be available to formerly incarcerated individuals, or projects that serve rural communities.
Federal statutes mandate that QAPs include certain preferences and set-asides. The three mandatory preferences are:
- projects serving the lowest income tenants
- projects obligated to serve qualified tenants for the longest periods
- projects which are located in qualified census tracts and the development of which contributes to a concerted community revitalization plan.