Low-Income Housing Tax Credits News Briefs - February 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

AFFORDABLE HOUSING INDUSTRY

There is cautious optimism that much delayed affordable rental housing production will occur in 2010, although more should be done to mitigate vulnerabilities in the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program and address issues surrounding investor demand, according to a new report from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. A paper released on January 8, "The Disruption of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program: Causes, Consequences, Responses, and Proposed Correctives," examines the experience to date with two programs created by the Recovery Act — the Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) and the Section 1602 program, which provides cash grants in lieu of LIHTCs. The report discusses the current situation and assesses several proposals for reform. A link to the paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies is available online at www.taxcredithousing.com, by clicking on Reports & Research in the Resources menu.

STATE

The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) board of directors late last year approved nearly $13 million in federal resources to finance the development of The Rose of Council Bluffs, a 76-unit affordable senior housing development. IFA awarded developer Gregory McClenahan more than $10 million total in federal disaster housing tax credits to be committed annually over a 10-year period, and a $2.9 million grant under the Section 1602 tax credit exchange program. The state received $72.7 million under Section 1602, which allows affordable housing developers to exchange their allocation of tax credits for cash awards to fill financing gaps.

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Maryland will receive more than $246 million under the New Issue Bond Program (NIBP), Gov. Martin O'Malley announced at the January 8 meeting of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC) in Baltimore. The initiative will provide a low fixed interest rate and allocate $90 million to help developers of multifamily rental housing. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) expects to create or rehabilitate about 1,000 rental units through the program.

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New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson helped break ground on a stimulus-funded affordable housing development in Albuquerque on January 12 and announced three additional developments that were also set to break ground in January. Two others are scheduled to begin construction soon. Located in Hatch, Anthony, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the developments will share in the more than $47 million that the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (NMMFA) received and will distribute through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). The 372 new and rehabilitated rental apartments will serve seniors, low-income families and persons with physical and mental disabilities. The first of the four, the $7.7 million NewLife Homes in Albuquerque, will house 48 very low-income individuals with disabilities. NMMFA is funding 75 percent of the construction through the Recovery Act's Section 1602 tax credit exchange program.

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Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) said in January that it will invest more than $74.9 million in resources leveraged from various affordable housing programs, federal stimulus funds and private capital to support 26 developments in 17 communities across the state. The funds will help create or preserve 1,147 affordable rental housing units with 144 units set aside for homeless families transitioning to permanent housing. Funding commitments include $11.3 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), $4.7 million in state tax credits, $27.6 million in state bond proceeds from seven affordable housing programs, $7.6 million in federal HOME funds and $1.2 million in federal weatherization funds. DHCD also obtained $22.5 million in Recovery Act funds to jump-start affordable housing developments in New Bedford, Ipswich and Gloucester that had received prior tax credit allocations but were stalled due to the lack of equity available in the tax credit market. The developments that received financing through these transactions are located in Acton, Auburn, Beverly, Boston (seven developments), Fall River, Falmouth, Gloucester, Ipswich, Harvard, Lawrence, Lowell (two developments), Marion, New Bedford (two developments), Northampton (two developments), Quincy, Spencer and Worcester.

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Approximately $4 million is available through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) Housing Investment Fund (HIF) to fund activities or projects that address an urgent affordable housing need. Eligible recipients are for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, public housing authorities and local governments. Applicants must submit a letter of intent by 5 p.m. on February 22 to be considered for funding. Awards will be in the form of grants or loans. Eligible uses of the fund include acquisition, the holding and disposition of residential real estate for affordable housing or comprehensive community development purposes, capitalized operating subsidies for affordable rental housing, and planning grants for comprehensive community redevelopment. Capital improvement projects are ineligible. OFHA will accept a maximum of two applications from any one organization or combination of organizations. For specific eligibility requirements and application details, refer to OFHA's web site at www.ohiohome.org.

PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY

Upon the retirement of Roy Alexander, Cris White, chief operating officer of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) was appointed interim executive director by the authority's board of directors, effective January 1, 2010. CHFA says that White will serve in both capacities while the board continues its search for a permanent executive director.

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Adrienne Quinn resigned on February 5 as director of the Office of Housing in Seattle, Wash. Quinn served as housing director for five years, the longest serving director since the office was created in 1999. During Quinn's tenure, the Office of Housing created or preserved more than 3,700 units of affordable housing, passed a $145 million housing levy and expanded both the multifamily tax exemption and the incentive zoning programs citywide. Quinn has accepted a position as vice president for public policy and government relations for Enterprise Community Partners. Bill Rumpf, deputy director of Seattle's Office of Housing, will serve as acting director.

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Enterprise Community Partners on January 11 named M.A. Leonard as its vice president and new impact market leader for the Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining Enterprise, Leonard worked as an independent consultant for community development organizations in Washington and Oregon, seeking strategic assistance with affordable housing development. Before her consultancy business, Leonard was regional vice president of the National Equity Fund Inc. (NEF), in 1998 opening NEF's Northwest office. During her 10-year tenure, she managed acquisition and portfolio activities in seven Western states and Alaska. Leonard is a board member of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and the Washington Community Reinvestment Association. She also has served on the Bank of America Rural Advisory Committee, State of Washington Housing Trust Fund Policy Advisory Team, the Seattle Housing Levy Oversight Committee and Historic Seattle.

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Gov. Jan Brewer in October appointed five new members to serve on the Arizona Housing Commission (AHC). David Adame will fill the farm worker housing seat. Adame is the chief development officer for Chicanos Por La Causa Inc. Albert Elias, director of the Housing and Community Development Department of the city of Tucson, was appointed to fill the non-rural city government, Pima County seat. Peter D. Herder is a third-generation homebuilder from a family that has built more than 20,000 homes in Arizona, California and Colorado and he will serve in the private sector housing industry seat. Doug Lingner was appointed to the non-rural county government, Maricopa seat on the commission. R. Michael McQuaid, who is the president of JM Management Company, a commercial real estate firm in Arizona, and also serves as managing director of the Human Services Campus in Phoenix, Ariz., will fill the commission's private sector real estate seat.

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Ana J. Matosantos was appointed in December as director of the California Department of Finance by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Matosantos joined the department as chief deputy director for budget in April 2008. Since 2004 she has served in the Schwarzenegger Administration in a number of capacities, as a member of the Health and Human Services Agency staff from 2004 to 2007, assistant secretary for programs and fiscal affairs and associate secretary for legislative affairs. In 2007, Matosantos served as deputy legislative secretary for Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs in the governor's office, where she worked on the governor's comprehensive health-care reform proposal. Prior to joining the Schwarzenegger Administration, Matosantos was the human services consultant for the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review.

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The National Housing Conference (NHC) announced in January that Clare Duncan had been hired as a policy associate. Duncan has experience in housing and community development issues, as well as legislative and policy work. Prior to joining the NHC, she received a master's degree in public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Andrew Hawes was promoted in January to the position of director of multifamily finance for the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC). Hawes has worked for KHC for 12 years, serving in several positions in the homeownership department and most recently as director of homeownership operations. Rob Ellis assumed the position of senior director of rental programs, including multifamily finance, rental assistance and the project-based contract administration programs. Ellis has been with KHC for 16 years, spending 11 years working with the HOME program and five with the compliance department.

DEALMAKERS

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) said in December that it had committed more than $12.2 million through state loans and Recovery Act funds to finance the creation of two affordable housing developments in the towns of Oakland and Princess Anne. Future residents of Oakland's Liberty Mews, a planned 36-unit townhouse rental property, will have the opportunity to purchase their units after 15 years. The property received a $250,000 loan through DHCD's rental housing program and more than $2 million through the Recovery Act's Section 1602 exchange program. Shelter Development LLC began construction of Somerset Commons, a 60-unit development with three-story garden apartment-style buildings in Princess Anne, in early December. The majority of financing for Somerset Commons came from more than $8.4 million in proceeds from the Recovery Act's Section 1602 and a DHCD HOME loan of $1.5 million.

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Groundbreaking for Westminster Place, a 96-unit affordable senior housing community in Stewartstown, Pa. commenced December 16. Located at the site of the former Hopewell Furniture Factory, the property offers 71 one-bedroom and 25 two-bedroom apartments to low-income seniors 55 years or older. Support for the $16.2 million development was provided by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Fulton Bank, Pittsburgh Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program Grant, York County Planning Commission and federal stimulus funds through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. A collaboration between Presbyterian Senior Living and Springwood Real Estate Services, Westminster Place will add two new wings to the 100-year-old building. The developers also plan to install state-of-the-art groundwater-source heat pumps, use recycled concrete slabs and foundations for the paving base course and reduce the net on-site building area to increase landscaped green areas. Amenities will include a fitness trail, chapel, private salon, fitness center, library and laundry area. Construction of Westminster Place is expected to be complete by November 2010.

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Boston Capital said on January 11 that it had acquired with general partner Community Investment Strategies Inc. (CIS) a planned 86-unit multifamily development in Woolwich, N.J. The Oaks at Weatherby will include 17 one-bedroom, 43 two-bedroom and 26 three-bedroom units in eight three-story buildings. All apartments will serve residents earning less than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). Amenities will include a playground, a community building, and Energy Star and water-conserving appliances to reduce tenants' utility bills. The community will also mount solar panels on the roof of the clubhouse to provide power for the clubhouse and the common area lighting fixtures. The Oaks at Weatherby was partially funded through the Recovery Act's tax credit exchange program.

Journal Category: 
Low-Income Housing Tax Credit