Pic Source: New York Times
A Housing Trust Fund is a distinct type of fund that is established by city, county or state government to receive ongoing dedicated sources of public funding for the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of rental homes and homeownership for extremely low- and very low-income families. By creating a housing trust fund, government bodies allocate available revenue sources to a fund that specifically addresses affordable housing options. The source of these funds can vary significantly in each jurisdiction: some cities, for example, commit developer impact fees into a housing trust fund but others have used their property tax, demolition tax, deed recording fees, or even an AirBnB tax.
In Pittsburgh, City Council voted in 2016 to establish a dedicated trust fund for affordable housing, a recommendation by the city's Affordable Housing Task Force. Some options that are currently being considered to fund it include an increase in the city's realty transfer tax or tax revenue from expiring TIF districts. According to research by the Center for Community Progress, local housing trust funds can be found in 73 cities, spanning 27 states, as well as hundreds more in Massachusetts and New Jersey, where state laws create strong incentives for local adoption.
State Housing Trust Fund
These funds have been the main drivers for the housing trust fund as a viable tool to support affordable housing initiatives in the U.S. 47 states have established state housing trust funds some of which begun in the mid-1980s. To this day, these funds have shown resilience and growth.
City Housing Trust Fund
According to the Center for Community Chang, city housing trust funds exist in at least 35 states and range from major metropolitan areas to towns with less than 20,000 population. The vast majority of local housing trust funds are in states that have passed enabling legislation to encourage or permit cities to create their own local housing trust funds.
County Housing Trust Fund
There are 57 country housing trust funds in at least twelve states.
Center for Community Change | Pittsburgh Enacts Housing Opportunity Fund
City of Pittsburgh Affordable Housing Task Force | Affordable Housing Task Force Findings and Recommendations to Mayor William Peduto and the Pittsburgh City Council
Center for Community Change | The 2016 Housing Trust Fund Survey Report
The Urban Edge | New Housing Trust Fund a Small Steps Against Growing Affordability Gap
CityLab | How the Federal Government Plans to Stop the 'Worst-Case' Housing Crisis
Institute for Local Government | Establishing a Local Housing Trust Fund: A Guide for California Officials