Coined in a best-selling book originally published in 1931, The Epic of America, “the American dream“ was described as “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.“ Yet this dream is not universally and equally accessible — economic opportunity is not uniformly distributed across the country, nor even across individual markets. Individuals’ ability to achieve the success they desire is often determined by the environmental and social experiences of their youth. It’s more difficult for those earning lower incomes to access areas that offer residents a lot of opportunity, in part due to high housing costs and a shortage of affordable housing, which is difficult to develop without deliberate public support.

In this report, we look at three case studies that examine markets that are identified by states and their Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs) as “High Opportunity Areas.“ We also look at how these markets foster opportunities for residents by providing access to education, jobs, health care and transportation. By comparing three properties in San Francisco, Baltimore and Minnesota’s Twin Cities markets, we can identify replicable financing approaches to create and preserve affordable housing across the country.

Affordable housing quote.