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Do Tenant- and Place-Based Rental Housing Programs Complement Each Other? Evidence from Ohio


We characterize Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) use in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) units with the intent to explore whether the subsidy overlap responds to needs unmet by the HCV program alone. Lacking the data to contrast HCV use in and out of LIHTC units, we turn to a comparison of HCV users in LIHTC units relative to the overall HCV population. Our analysis of 2011 tenant-level LIHTC data from Ohio and HCV data from HUD suggests placed-based vouchers, which must be redeemed in an LIHTC unit, are more likely allocated to extremely low-income or special-needs households. On the other hand, HCV users who freely choose to redeem their voucher in an LIHTC unit are similar to the overall HCV population in terms of incomes and ethnicity, although they tend to be older. There is little evidence that using both programs in concert enables access to better neighborhoods for HCV users: households across both programs live in neighborhoods that tend to have poverty rates above 20 percent, with HCV-LIHTC users actually living in higher-poverty neighborhoods in most urban Ohio counties when compared to the HCV population as a whole.

Keywords: Affordable Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Policy, Neighborhood Quality, Poverty.

JEL Codes: R38, H71, R23.


Barkley, Brett, Amy Higgins, and Francisca G.-C. Richter, 2016. “Do Tenant- and Place-Based Rental Housing Programs Complement Each Other? Evidence from Ohio,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, working paper no. 14-29.

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