Mayor announces new tool in effort to increase affordable housing

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LINCOLN, Neb. - Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today announced a new affordable housing initiative that would provide home buyers in some areas of Lincoln with a $5,000 tax credit. The new tool is available because of the passage of LB86 in the Nebraska Legislature earlier this year and the work of the City’s Urban Development Department.

The new law takes effect January 1 and allows cities to designate certain areas as “extremely blighted.” Those buying a home for owner occupancy in one of these areas will qualify for a one-time $5,000 credit on their State income tax.

“Maintaining and increasing the supply of safe, quality affordable housing is essential for Lincoln families as our City continues to grow,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “The tax credit is a huge benefit to those looking to make the step into homeownership. That kind of social investment into neighborhoods is a key part of our revitalization strategies.”

To qualify as extremely blighted, an area must meet three criteria:

It must be declared blighted and substandard by the City Council.
The average unemployment rate in the area must be at least 200 percent of the average State unemployment rate.
The area’s average poverty rate must exceed 20 percent.

Mayor Gaylor Baird thanked the City’s Urban Development Department for conducting the required study and determining the areas that meet the criteria. The eligible areas and the study are available at urban.lincoln.ne.gov (listed under “new”).

Mayor Gaylor Baird said the new tools are going into effect at the same time as the community is developing its Affordable Housing Action Plan. The plan is being developed with the help of a national consultant in partnership with neighborhoods, nonprofits and the private sector.