Robert Rozen Podcast

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The Birth of the Housing Tax Credit Program

Ep. 63 - Robert Rozen, referred to as Bobby,  worked for many years in the U.S. Senate and was involved in the establishment of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program which is the primary means of financing affordable housing today. In the 30 years since enactment, nearly 3 million housing units have been built with LIHTC equity, 3.1 million jobs have been created and an industry has grown around it. But to understand how the LIHTC passed, it's important to go back to the political climate of the time.  When it was passed, the attention was on the simplification of the tax code and the elimination of many tax shelters.  Bobby takes us through those times and the challenges in establishing the tax credit program. He is a policy consultant with his own firm concentrating on legislative and regulatory tax issues relating to affordable housing and community economic development.

Top Takeaways:

    • How the low-income housing tax credit program has been protected and properly managed to last for so long
    • Understanding why spending money on tax is easier compared to direct spending programs which is what made the low-income housing tax credit program successful
    • Why affordable housing needs to be made a political issue to put more resources towards the sector

Listen in to learn why the low-income housing tax credit program was successful and lasted as long as it did, compared to other programs.

"When you think of affordability there's no question that houses are part of that mix, depending on the market. In the most expensive markets, housing is not affordable with median income but in most markets it is affordable." -Robert Rozen

Best Podcast for Housing Tax Credits History

He retired in 2016 as a partner from Washington Council, a unit of Ernst & Young that provides advocacy services to clients on a range of federal regulatory and legislative issues.  Over the years, Mr. Rozen has represented a number of clients on affordable housing and community economic development and currently represents the National Association of State and Local Equity Funds, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Enterprise Community Investment. As a Board member of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, one of his objectives was ensuring Arlington's "values of being a diverse and inclusive community."

Mr. Rozen served as a consultant to the Millennial Housing Commission in 2001 and 2002 and as a Commissioner on the Housing Commission of the Bipartisan Policy Center from 2011 to 2014.  He also served as board chair in 2014 and 2015 of a nonprofit affordable housing developer in Arlington, Virginia, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH).  In addition to his board responsibilities with APAH, Mr. Rozen currently serves on the Advisory Council to Tzedek DC, a nonprofit organization of attorneys that provides pro bono legal assistance to low-income debtors in the District of Columbia.

Robert Rozen was one of five original members of the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame by Affordable Housing Finance Magazine. He has also received other awards for his work in support of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, including the "Friend of Housing Award" in 2016 from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, and the "Industry Impact Award" in 2018 from Community Affordable Housing Equity Corporation.

Learn why there's a need for more resources to provide affordable housing to the low-income population.

Key Moments:

Bobby describes his experience and a broad portfolio working in the senate [2:33]

He explains how the low-income housing tax credit program was formed and the changes they've made to it over the years [4:20]

Why the low-income housing tax credit program has lasted for many years as compared to other affordable housing [9:30]

How the abundance of resources has led to the success of the low-income housing tax credit program [12:12]

He talks about his honorary recognition by the Affordable Housing Magazine plus his role as the chairman of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing [15:29]

He talks about the industry impact award he received in 2018 and his membership at the Bipartisan Policy Center focusing on multifamily affordable housing [19:16]

The need for more resources in the affordable housing that policymakers should implement [24:22]

Understanding what markets housing is expensive and impossible to make it affordable [27:32]

Bobby shares his honor having served in the affordable housing sector for all those years [29:31]

Resources:

Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

LinkedIn

Inside Nova Article

Novoco Article on Tax Credits

Naslef Annual Report

Housing Finance Bobby Rozen

Gap Financing Growing Concern

Tax Reform

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