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Resource Center


Qualified Allocation Plans

A Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) is the mechanism by which a state housing finance agency promulgates the criteria by which it will select to whom it will award tax credits. Each state must develop a QAP. The QAP also lists all deadlines, application fees, restrictions, standards and requirements.

A QAP may contain either preferences or set-asides in order 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. Set-asides are funds specifically allocated to certain kinds of projects.

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 (as defined in subsection (d)(5)(C)) and the development of which contributes to a concerted community revitalization plan. 26 U.S.C. §42(m)(1)(B)(ii).

Furthermore, a QAP must, by statute, include the following eight selection criteria:

• project location
• housing needs characteristics
• project characteristics, including whether the project includes the use of existing housing as part of a community revitalization plan
• sponsor characteristics
• tenant populations with special housing needs
• public housing waiting lists
• tenant populations of individuals with children
• projects intended for eventual tenant ownership. 26 U.S.C. §42(m)(1)(C)(i)-(viii).

QAPs must be updated on an annual basis, after a public hearing that has been properly noticed. A copy of a state’s QAP is available online. While federal statutes mandate that QAPs include certain preferences and set-asides, the state may include additional criteria as needed. 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.

Materials

National Low Income Housing Coalition, the QAP, A Potential Tool in the Affordable Housing Preservation Toolbox

This February 2007 publication by the National Low Income Housing Coalition lists practical tips on how to ensure your state’s QAP will preserve affordable housing.

HUD Policy Development & Research, Analysis of State Qualified Allocation Plans for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program

This May 2002 publication put forth by HUD’s research arm analyses state QAPS and discusses common characteristics and practices.

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