11 Nov 2013

GreenSquare director studies affordable housing in the USA

GreenSquare’s Development Director, Vic O’Brien, has recently returned from a month-long research trip to the United States after being granted the prestigious Churchill Travelling Fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

The Trust’s objective for the Travelling Fellowships is to provide opportunities for British citizens to go abroad on a worthwhile enterprise of their own choosing, with the aim of enriching their lives by their wider experience – and to bring benefit to others in the UK through sharing the results of the experience.

Vic travelled to the United States to research the production of the country’s affordable housing and the operation of its Low Income Housing Tax Credit system (LIHTC). Travelling to Boston, Washington DC, New York and North Carolina over the four-week period, Vic met with around 50 people from different parts of the affordable housing industry, including representatives from State Finance Agencies, developers, investors, syndicators, and the Government Department of Homes and Urban Development (HUD).

Vic explained: “It was a very informative trip. Since the introduction of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit system in the late 1980s, it has proved to be the most successful of the USA’s affordable housing programmes.  It has resulted in huge amounts of private capital being invested in affordable housing with 2.5 million homes produced since the programme began. 

“Last year, the programme underpinned the development of around 100,000 affordable homes. The highly efficient way in which it involves private financial institutions investing equity into producing high quality affordable homes offers valuable insights for the UK’s affordable housing industry.

“Within the next three months, I will be producing a report based on my findings that will be published on the Chartered Institute of Housing website.”

Vic received support for his trip from the Chartered Institute of Housing, and an advisory group made up of the CIH’s directors of policy and a number of finance directors and development directors from other leading housing associations.  

To read the blog Vic kept during his travels, please visit lihtc4uk.blogspot.co.uk/

Click here to read the full report.