Date of Award

6-2011

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning

Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Chris Wm. Clark

Abstract

Since the mid-century proliferation of public housing, policy makers and environmental justice advocates have exposed the fact that geographically and economically isolated public housing sites are ultimately detrimental to residents and communities. In recent years, more progressive housing policies have emphasized the importance of site location in the success of housing programs. This study explores the intersection of affordable housing policy and “food desert” research, by assessing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program in California, with specific attention to the grocery store category within the Site Amenities section. Since the inception of the LIHTC program in 1986, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC) has made multiple revisions to its application process. The study evaluates the current accessibility of grocery stores from LIHTC sites in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties in Northern California. It also critiques the changes in application scoring, criteria, and the indicators of food facility proximity and quality, identifying weaknesses, recommendations, and areas for further research.

It finds that despite CTCAC’s efforts to improve the effectiveness of the application, there does not seem to improvement in grocery store access over time. Further research is needed to determine whether this condition is a result of a failure on the part of the application process, or of high land costs and limited availability of developable land.

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