BAM Key Details: 

  • The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation created a scorecard for all 50 states, plus three cities, to grade their performance on three affordable housing criteria: Healthy Building, Energy Efficiency, and Racial Equity. 
  • Kentucky and Tennessee are the only two states earning Fs across the board, while three other states earned an F overall but scored a D on one of the three criteria. 

The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation just released a thorough analysis of all 50 states and three cities, grading them on their compliance with three specific standards for Quality Allocation Plans (QAPs): 

  • Healthy Building
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Racial Equity

Those three measures for affordable housing investments are used to determine the allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). 

QAPs serve as a valuable tool to advance progressive solutions in affordable housing. This report shows there is significant room for improvement. I hope our findings will help improve states’ QAP requirements and affordable housing standards.

Jeff Hurley

BlueGreen Alliance Foundation State Initiatives Manager and report author

The whole point of this project was to encourage states to prioritize creating good jobs, protecting the health of their residents, and improving racial equity in affordable housing. 

With that in mind, it focused on the following indicators: 

  • Healthy building standards and practices 
  • Worker-friendly labor standards
  • Energy efficiency
  • Racial equity

The full report includes a scorecard and an interactive map revealing the breakdown of each state’s performance. Hover over any state to see its scorecard, and click on it to reveal more information. What you learn might surprise you. 

Two states earned Fs across the board

The final report gave each state an overall grade, in addition to separate grades for the three Healthy Building, Energy Efficiency, and Racial Equity. After a few minutes’ review of the map, a few things stand out: 

  • Not a single slate earned an A for Racial Equity, though 11 earned a B. 
  • Tennessee and Kentucky were the only states to earn Fs across the board.
  • The highest overall score was A-, which three locations earned: Minnesota, Ohio, and D.C.
  • Maryland was the only state to earn solid Bs across the board.
  • Florida was the only state to earn solid Cs across the board. 
  • Alabama was the only state to earn solid Ds across the board. 

States with the highest overall scores:

  • Minnesota (A-) 
  • Ohio (A-) 
  • D.C. (A-) 
  • Colorado (B+)
  • Michigan (B+)
  • Washington (B+)
  • Oregon (B+) 
  • Delaware (B)  
  • Georgia (B)  
  • Maryland (B) 

Locations with the lowest overall scores

  • Kentucky (F) 
  • Tennessee (F) 
  • Montana (F) 
  • Maine (F) 
  • West Virginia (F)
  • Alaska (D)  
  • Alabama (D)  
  • Arkansas (D)  
  • California (D)  
  • North Carolina (D)  
  • Nebraska (D) 
  • Kansas (D)  

BlueGreen Alliance leadership sees the scorecard as a wake-up call for some states and a reminder to others that there’s still room for improvement. 

Ultimately, this is a call for states to improve their QAP process with a focus on reducing disproportionate exposure to communities of color. The bottom line is that the investments we make in affordable and low-income housing should foster a healthy and equitable future for all, not just reduce energy waste and pollution. 

While housing finance agencies have a litany of priorities to consider when developing their QAPs, this report shows that the health of residents and workers, the energy efficiency of housing developments, labor standards, and racially equitable housing policies cannot be ignored,

Charlotte Brody

BlueGreen Alliance Vice President of Health Initiatives

Twenty-two out of 50 states earned a D on “Racial Equity” standards. And seven states, plus one city, earned an F: 

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • New York City

Just 2% of the real estate industry in the United States includes Black-led companies. Access to capital remains the most significant barrier for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) developers. The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation report is an important tool for understanding how jurisdictions can begin to address the systemic racism and discriminatory practices used in rental housing development and leasing and create more equitable access to housing for people who face persistent discrimination.

Deb DeSantis

CEO of the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)

Three states–-Alabama, New Mexico, and South Dakota—earned a D on “Healthy Building” standards, while 11 earned an F: 

  1. Arkansas
  2. California
  3. Kansas
  4. Kentucky
  5. Montana
  6. North Carolina
  7. Nebraska
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Tennessee
  10. West Virginia
  11. Wyoming 

Read the full report for more details. 

Takeaways for real estate agents

Whatever your particular market’s scorecard, this information is worth sharing with anyone looking to move into or out of the area, especially if they’re looking for a market with a better track record for one or more of the criteria measured for this report. 

It’s not as much about politics as it is about a marriage of leadership priorities and state budgets. Residents whose priorities are compatible with those of their chosen states are more likely to stick around for a longer period of time. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean all their priorities match up—just that a particular market has what they need or value most (for the time being).