High Opportunity & Areas of Concentrated Poverty

Over the past several years there has been an increased focus on deconcentrating poverty and promoting affordable housing in high opportunity areas, particularly in research, policy and affordable housing circles. While the broad concept of high opportunity areas — those locations that, through various economic and social factors, as well as the proximity of certain amenities, encourage a positive impact on a person’s life outcome — may seem relatively straightforward, there is substantial variability in how to define opportunity areas and, in practical terms, how to best identify them and encourage the investment in affordable housing there. The trend to support affordable housing in high opportunity areas is particularly evident in states’ allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) dollars — a highly effective subsidy that makes affordable housing development and preservation possible — and the priorities established in their Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs). In this paper, Freddie Mac and the National Housing Trust explore the different definitions of opportunity and the methods used to promote opportunity housing in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through the LIHTC program. 

Published: 2018