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BERKELEY: The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC) has reapproved the use of an opportunity map developed by the Othering & Belonging Institute (OBI) and partners.  The adoption of the 2023 Opportunity Map marks the sixth consecutive year that OBI has worked with CTCAC and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on the opportunity maps, which guide the siting of affordable housing using a federal tax credit.  

The purpose of the map is to advance two specific Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) objectives - increasing access to opportunity and replacing segregated living patterns with integrated and balanced living patterns.  

To advance these objectives, the mapping methodology is designed to identify areas in every region of the state whose characteristics have been shown by research to support positive economic, educational, and health outcomes for low-income families, while also identifying areas that are both racially residentially segregated and high poverty.

The adoption of the map for the sixth time demonstrates California’s commitment to using the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program to avoid the racial segregation and economic isolation of low-income families to the detriment of these families’ life outcomes. Prior research by OBI found that the LIHTC program as administered in Texas, for example, had severely reinforced this tendency.  

The mapping project was spurred following a 2017 investigation by OBI that found the majority of LIHTC resources for low-income housing in the Bay Area were being directed to low-income neighborhoods, and that only a small percentage of low-income housing was being constructed in high-opportunity areas.

Due in part to these findings, CTCAC and HCD convened a group of researchers to develop a data-driven tool for measuring and mapping opportunity within the state. The research partners are currently represented by OBI, the California Housing Partnership, and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley.  Since 2018, the research partners have convened on an annual basis to consider methodology changes and update the map with the most currently available data.

As mentioned, the Opportunity Map is designed to address two specific AFFH objectives.  Over the past year, HCD has led an Opportunity Framework process in consultation with state agencies, researchers, developers, community groups, and other stakeholders to further develop the state’s approach to the full range of AFFH objectives.  This process of developing and refining the state’s AFFH strategy will continue into 2023.

The 2023 Opportunity Map and previous maps, along with methodology and summary datasets, are available on CTCAC's website. California’s adoption of previous opportunity maps is covered in the 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022 press releases.