Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) have gotten hard to come by lately. But perhaps the ubiquitous Google can help: it has entered the affordable housing arena with the recent announcement that the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation will manage an $86 million LIHTC fund for Google, bringing “fresh capital to the industry at a time when many developers of low-income housing projects have been faced with significant financial gaps,” according to U.S. Bancorp.
The LIHTC fund will provide the lion’s share of the funding for building and operating 480 affordable rental units for low-income families and senior citizens in seven communities throughout the West and Midwest. This is the second time this year that Google has invested in affordable housing. Back in June, it was announced that the company would invest $19 million in LIHTC equity in Fair Oaks Plaza, a development that will serve 123 low-income seniors in the San Francisco Bay Area community of Sunnyvale. With that project, Union Bank is kicking in $21.8 million in debt financing.
Our question is: Will this signal a trend in innovative ways to fund affordable housing? Google exists in a competitive marketplace after all. So how about it, Apple? IBM? Microsoft?