Preservation and Low Income Housing Tax Credits

Governor Abbott signed SB 1316 into law on June 18, 2015.  This bill creates an outstanding opportunity to bundle low income housing tax credits with the new state historic preservation tax credit and existing federal historic preservation tax credits.  This is particularly important in creating incentives to tackle larger-scale historic structures such as vacant schools, hotels and factories that can be converted to residential uses.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is in the process of considering how to award points used to score applications for the tax credit.  We urge the department to give a generous allocation of points to historic structures, and we have sent the following letter of support:

The recent passage of SB 1316, giving priority to historic properties in allocating low-income housing tax credits, will be a powerful tool for historic preservation in Texas.  We are in full support of the implementation of this bill, and know that it will make a transformative difference in communities all across Texas, particularly when bundled with existing federal and state preservation tax credits.  A generous allocation of points for historic structures will make it even more attractive to bundle these credits.

The implementation of SB 1316 enables Texas to offer remarkable incentives for private investment in communities statewide through historic preservation.  By combining low income housing tax credits with existing federal historic preservation tax credits, the recently created state historic preservation tax credit and even the voluntary donation of a conservation easement, significant preservation projects will be possible.

High-quality historic buildings, generally located in downtown areas, can be revitalized through rehabilitation projects that make use of existing infrastructure.  These projects will stimulate community pride, additional restoration activities in old neighborhoods and economic development through heritage tourism.

Further, the development of affordable housing in historic buildings has been demonstrated to maintain the long-term economic and cultural diversity of neighborhoods.  A HUD analysis found that economically and culturally diverse neighborhoods were almost always comprised of historic buildings that were part of National Register historic districts or local historic districts.

The implementation of SB 1316 will tip the scales in favor of historic preservation of derelict and underutilized buildings that would otherwise languish as community eyesores.  We are confident that many successful revitalization projects will result, putting Texas craftsmen to work restoring buildings so that families can find new homes in historically significant buildings and neighborhoods.