Awarding Racial Segregation: The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit as a New Racially Restrictive Covenant


The United States has a history of racial segregation in its facilitation of federal housing programs. One such program, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), was intended to respond to the need for affordable housing since its establishment in 1986. Through the LIHTC program, the federal government grants tax credits to investors and developers who rent to low-income tenants. In recent years, the federal government has become increasingly reliant on the program as the most prevalent form of affordable public housing. This reliance has perpetuated the racially segregated administration of federal housing policy: LIHTC tenants are afforded fewer civil rights and due process protections compared to tenants in other federally subsidized public housing programs, such as Section 8. This comment will use Professor Priscilla Ocen’s concept of the New Racially Restrictive Covenant to show how the government’s transition away from Section 8 to the LIHTC program disproportionately harms low-income communities of color.