Froehlich’s Death A Tremendous Loss to Affordable Housing World

Published by Michael Novogradac on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 12:00am
Richard Froehlich

Affordable housing lost a champion last weekend with the unexpected death of Richard Froehlich.

Rich was an early advocate for the average-income set-aside for low-income housing tax credit-financed properties (which became law in 2018) and was one of the nation’s leading experts on the use of tax-exempt private activity bonds (PABs) to finance affordable housing. His sense of humor and energy made him a popular figure at housing conferences and other industry gatherings.

New York City is the nation’s largest population center, giving it an outsized influence. Rich’s role as first executive vice president and chief operating officer at the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) led to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers seeing their affordable homes preserved and new homes built.

Rich graduated from Columbia University’s Columbia College and Columbia University School of Law. He began his career at the law offices of O’Melveny & Meyers LLP, where he worked in affordable multifamily transactions representing investors, lenders, credit enhancers and issuers in bond-financed transactions.

Rich joined HDC as its general counsel in 2003 and was promoted several times over the years–most recently in 2018. In his role as first executive vice president, Rich directed the HDC’s bond finance and operating activities.

Rich was the leader in the New York City HDC’s efforts to preserve nearly 150,000 units of low- and middle-income housing. He also helped design and implement the HDC’s role in New York City’s plan to build and preserve 300,000 units in New York City.

Rich was a member of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing and was the president of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies. He also was an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Among his offerings were classes on affordable housing finance and public finance.

The affordable housing world in general and the New York City region in specific will miss Rich’s work greatly. He made the city a better place for residents of affordable housing.