Survey of State Housing Finance Agencies' Use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) and the Section 1602 Program
GAO-10-1022R, Sep 20, 2010
In February 2009, Congress created two new programs as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act): (1) the Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and (2) the Grants to States for Low-Income Housing Projects in Lieu of Low-inome Housing Credits Program under Section 1602 of the Recovery Act (Section 1602 Program) administered by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury). Congress created these new programs to address the lack of private investment capital in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects after the credit market was disrupted in 2008. Both programs were intended to provide gap financing for stalled, "shovel-ready" projects and to offset a drop in tax credit demand and pricing. Under these programs, state Housing Finance Agencies (HFA) administer federal funds in the form of grants and loans from HUD and Treasury to fill financing gaps in planned tax credit projects.
As part of our work examining how federal agencies and HFAs are implementing TCAP and the Section 1602 Program, we developed a Web-based survey for HFA managers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Our survey asked about the status of program delivery, program design, safeguards and controls, expected results, and challenges to implementation. We distributed our survey in November and early December 2009 and received usable responses from all 54 agencies. We designed the self-administered questionnaire in consultation with experts, representatives of housing finance stakeholders, and state agency managers. While all state agencies returned questionnaires, and thus our data are not subject to sampling or overall nonresponse error, the practical difficulties of conducting any survey may introduce other errors in our findings. We took steps to minimize errors of measurement, question-specific nonresponse, and data processing. In addition to the design activities described above, we pretested the questionnaire with four state agency officials before the survey, and also (1) contacted each agency before the survey to determine whether our originally identified respondent was the most appropriate and knowledgeable person to answer our questions, and made changes to our contact list as necessary; (2) resolved respondent difficulties in answering our questions during the survey; and (3) recontacted selected respondents to follow up on answers that were missing or that required clarification. Finally, we independently verified analysis programs and other data analyses.