icon Blueprint for January

Everyone Deserves to Go Home

3 min read

If you’ve ever spent time in Baltimore, you’ve likely noticed the vibrant and emotive murals strategically placed around the city.

Many of these awe-inspiring works were spawned by the Baltimore Mural Program, which was launched in 1975 to make Baltimore neighborhoods more attractive. The program has produced more than 250 murals creating a sort of outdoor art museum. As a lover of unique street art, it is clear to me how Baltimore earned the nickname Charm City, which was first used in 1975 to acknowledge the redevelopment of the area and improve the city’s reputation.

On a recent trip there, I saw a mural I’d never seen before. On the side of the Health Care for the Homeless building is a dynamic piece by Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen and more than 150 volunteers with the words “Everyone deserves to go home.” A sentiment that echoes throughout this industry.

As chance would have it, both January case studies embody the spirit of this mural, from its motivational words to its frenetic imagery. The first project, New Life Homes in Tacoma, WA, helps address the dire need for affordable housing by providing supportive housing for individuals in recovery from substance abuse, those leaving the criminal justice system, the formerly homeless, persons with disabilities, and veterans. People who truly need a chance to go home. (Case Study: New Life Homes in Tacoma, WA)

The second, Timbale Terrace in East Harlem, NY, humanizes the artistic expression in the mural. Timbale is a mixed-use development for low-income families with a performing arts center operated by the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance (newly renamed Belongó). The Casa Belongó Arts Center will provide community programs, music and technical production training, after-school programs, free arts education classes, community event spaces, world-class live performances, and more. (Case Study: Timbale Terrace Moves into East Harlem)

Like Baltimore’s murals, projects such as New Life Homes and Timbale Terrace are both thrilling and inspiring. So, what are some ways we can continue to chip away at the shortage of affordable housing in 2024 and ensure that everyone has a place to call home?

Each year, when state housing finance agencies allocate millions to help fund affordable housing with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, the dollar amount allocated to each state can impact what projects are awarded the tax credits. Fully understanding the allocation process for each state can make or break a project. (Understanding State LIHTC Allocations)

Also, determining how to utilize excess land owned by faith-based organizations using new YIGBY legislation may provide alternatives for developers. (Yes, In God’s Backyard)

As we look ahead to what 2024 may bring, one thing is certain, the affordable housing industry will continue to combat the housing crisis in innovative ways. And Tax Credit Advisor looks forward to sharing your successes in the new year.

Jessica Hoefer