How Will MTW “Accommodate Regionalization”?

On the Brookings website, there’s a joint post by Greg Russ, the Executive Director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, and Robin Snyderman, a Nonresident Senior Fellow of Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which discusses the new Moving To Work (MTW) Expansion. The post focuses on the MTW expansion enabling legislation which allows HUD to “accommodate regionalization” in its MTW expansion plans.

What this legislative language specifically means is unclear, but the opportunity exists to use the MTW Expansion and its single-fund flexibilities to create a “a variety of public housing initiatives to operate in a regional market across agency boundaries.” Regional MTW approaches may be particularly relevant in Baltimore, Chicago, and the Twin Cities, where MTW agencies are located in high-poverty areas surrounded by other PHAs in lower-poverty jurisdictions.

In fostering a regional MTW approach, agencies will still need to properly balance the greater cost of mobility initiatives with the tradeoff of potentially serving fewer families. The post notes that one of the benefits of a regional MTW approach may be “the cost-savings associated with reduced administrative burdens of cross-jurisdictional activity.”

The post explores other concepts of what MTW regionalization may look like.

The entire post can be read here.

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara

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Sycamore Gardens before (bottom) and after (top) renovation. Photo courtesy of HACSB.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.

Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara: Sycamore Gardens

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara’s (HACSB’s) Sycamore Gardens is a former HUD-assisted public housing development that has been transitioned into the Section 8 Program via the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program. Sycamore Gardens was developed in 1972. Although safety standards were maintained, the overall appearance of the building was dated and many components of the complex were approaching the end of their useful life.  Because of prior lack of funds, Sycamore Gardens was in serious need of rehabilitation.

“By combining the RAD conversion program with the 4% LIHTC and Private Activity Bonds, we were able to fully rehabilitate the property and extend the useful life of this affordable housing resource to our lowest-income community members for another 50 years.” HACSB Executive Director/CEO Rob Fredericks explained. “ This would not have been possible if we had not had the ability to access equity through the combination of 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Private Activity Bonds. If we care about affordable housing, then we must preserve these tools!”

The rehabilitation of Sycamore Gardens included the following:

  • New parking and driveways
  • New exterior walls
  • All existing windows and doors replaced with dual-pane, energy–efficient windows and rear sliding door and entry doors
  • Replacement of all roofs
  • New tankless water heaters
  • All new kitchen cabinets, countertops, sinks and appliances
  • All new bath vanities/sinks
  • New flooring
  • New interior paint
  • Two apartments converted to fully handicap accessible units
  • Two handicap parking spaces with fully accessible and compliant ramps
  • Photovoltaic panels installed to offset tenant electric loads
  • Site improvements designed to meet the standards for Tier 3 Best Management Practices of stormwater treatment.

For more information about this project or to share your 4% LIHTC success stories, please contact us at nahro@nahro.org.

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Housing Authority of the City of Austin

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North Loop Apartments & Gaston Place Apartments. Photo: HACA

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.

Housing Authority of the City of Austin: Portfolio Modernization

The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is fully converting its public housing portfolio to RAD, and for many properties, has used 4 percent LIHTC and Private Activity Bonds (PABs) to improve its public housing stock through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD).

“Our ability to use 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Private Activity Bonds has been crucial to meeting Austin’s affordable housing challenge,” said HACA President and CEO Michael Gerber. “We are fully converting our public housing portfolio to RAD, and PABs layered with 4 percent credits have provided us with the necessary financing to dramatically rehabilitate our properties – including new kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and accessibility features.  There is intense competition in Texas for 9 percent tax credits, and winning them is difficult.  Without PABs and 4 percent credits, our RAD program would be dead in the water.”

“In just the past three years, HACA has issued $150 million in Private Activity Bonds, coupled with 4 percent credits, to develop 1,600 high-quality apartment units,” Gerber explained.” These developments would not have happened without the PAB  / 4 percent tax credit program. One thousand people a week are moving to Austin, and recent studies show that the city needs another 55,000 affordable housing units on the ground today.  Losing PAB capacity effectively kills the 4 percent tax credit.  And, without these financing tools, low-income people – seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans, and far too many children – will lose the opportunity for safe, decent housing.”

For more information about this project or to share your organization’s 4 percent LIHTC success story, please contact nahro@nahro.org.

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County

Freetown Village

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.

Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County: Freetown Village

Freetown Village is an existing community built in 1977 on 9.6 acres in Pasadena, Maryland. It is currently owned and operated as public housing by the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County (HCAAC).  The property includes 154 family apartments, ranging in size from one-bedroom to four-bedroom apartments. The current unit mix is 24 one-bedroom units, 48 two-bedroom units, 60 three-bedroom units, and 22 four-bedroom units, contained in 15 two-story townhome-style residential buildings, and two three-story garden-style buildings.

Freetown Village needs modernization and upgrades. The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program provides an opportunity to access private capital in order to address the property’s physical needs and secure a more stable funding source for rental assistance long-term. HCAAC will use funding from four key resources of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD): Tax-Exempt Bonds, 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a soft loan from Rental Housing Works loan, and a construction and permanent loan using DHCD’s Risk Share loan product totaling more than $41.5 million. This project is contingent on the use of tax-exempt bonds and issuance of 4% Low income Housing Tax Credits, which have an anticipated commitment date of early 2018.

Existing units will be upgraded with:

  • New kitchen cabinets and counters
  • New kitchen appliances (refrigerators, ranges, range goods)
  • New bathroom vanities
  • New flooring
  • New entry doors
  • R-49 attic insulation
  • Install LED lighting replacement
  • Replace bathtubs with roll-in showers for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) units; other ADA upgrades.

In addition system and common area upgrades will include:

  • New hot water heaters
  • HVAC upgrades
  • Upgraded landscaping features
  • Seal/stripe parking spaces
  • Added insulation
  • LED lighting replacement
  • ADA sidewalk improvements
  • New playground
  • All new flooring in common rooms.

The proposal would also add 36 new homes to Freetown Village, including 24 2BR units (approximately 720 square feet) and 12 3BR units ( approximately 980 square feet). Anne Arundel County’s Workforce Housing requirements mandate 20 of the units would be reserved for households at or below 60 percent of Area Median Income. The other 16 units could be occupied by households up to 120 percent of Area Median Income.

For more information about this project or to share your organization’s 4 percent LIHTC success story, please contact nahro@nahro.org.

HUD Updates Disaster Portability Guidance

Earlier today, HUD’s Financial Management Center sent additional guidance for PHAs receiving porting requests from program participants from Presidentially declared Major Disaster Declaration areas. Although previous guidance had been issued in an email, this guidance gives additional details on how receiving PHAs should process ports when the initial PHA is unable to complete portability requests.

This guidance applies to receiving PHAs that are contacted directly by families that are from areas covered by Presidentially declared Major Disaster Declarations and that wish to port, but have an initial PHA that cannot complete their portability responsibilities.

HUD has published a list, which includes all PHAs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and whether receiving PHAs should use these alternative portability guidelines. HUD will continually update this list by 5 pm EST every Thursday to reflect changes that allow initial PHAs to resume portability operations. This disaster portability guidance will be in effect until January 31, 2018, unless HUD extends this date. Questions can be emailed to the HUD Disaster Portabilty Team at DisasterPortability@hud.gov.

The PHA Portability Status List can be found here.

HUD’s updated portability guidance can be found here.

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: New York City Housing Authority

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Photo courtesy of NYCHA

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.

New York City Housing Authority: Ocean Bay (Bayside) Apartments

In June 2017, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  announced $560 million in federal, state, city, and private investment in NYCHA’s Ocean Bay (Bayside) Apartments, including $213 million in tax-exempt bonds, to finance essential infrastructure upgrades, support state-of-the-art resiliency and security systems, and the renovation and preservation of the public housing complex that is home to nearly 4,000 residents in Far Rockaway, Queens.

The 24-building, 1,395-unit Ocean Bay (Bayside) Apartments complex in Far Rockaway, Queens, provides vital affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers. Completed and first occupied in the early 1960s, the aging development was already facing critical maintenance needs and a deteriorating infrastructure before suffering extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy, including flooding and the destruction of the central heating plant. Some of the more notable renovations needed include roof replacements, complete upgrade of elevator machinery and equipment, new boilers and heating systems.

The three-year, $327 million restoration will involve a major infrastructure overhaul, with upgrades improving the overall community. All apartments will undergo extensive kitchen and bathroom renovations. To prepare for future extreme weather events, the restoration will also include resiliency measures such as the third-largest solar panel installation at an affordable housing development in New York State, a secure flood wall, water retention swales, stand-alone electric service buildings built above the flood zone, and the conversion from one central boiler steam system to 24 individual hydronic boilers on the roof of each building. The project also aims to provide residents with a safer, more secure community with new and updated security cameras, improved interior and exterior lighting, and a new key fob entry system.

This is NYCHA’s first conversion under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which allows housing authorities to access private capital to meet capital needs while also protecting long-term affordability. “This is government at its best and we are proud to be a part of driving investment in public housing across the state,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. “Here in New York City, the State worked with NYCHA – providing $213 million in tax-exempt bonds – to make their first RAD financing of nearly 1,400 units at the Ocean Bay complex possible. The result: Federal, local and state agencies working together to catalyze a public-private financing structure that supports vital capital improvements and respects tenants’ rights and needs.”

For more information about this project or to share your organization’s 4 percent LIHTC success story, please contact nahro@nahro.org.

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Knoxville Community Development Corporation

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KNOXVILLE’S COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (KCDC) RECENTLY ANNOUNCED A $33.1 REHABILITATION INITIATIVE AT THREE AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROPERTIES: LONSDALE HOMES, NORTH RIDGE CROSSING (PICTURED) AND THE VISTA AT SUMMIT HILL. THE IMPROVEMENTS WILL IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND QUALITY OF LIFE FOR RESIDENTS.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.

Knoxville Community Development Corporation: Lonsdale Homes, North Ridge Crossing and The Vista at Summit Hill Properties

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) recently approved a $33.1 million rehabilitation initiative at three affordable housing properties. In total, 705 units at Lonsdale Homes, North Ridge Crossing and The Vista at Summit Hill will undergo significant improvements with an emphasis on energy efficiency and quality of life for residents. The plans include better insulation, LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, plumbing repairs, roof replacement and new windows, flooring, cabinets and countertops. The improvements will be funded with a combination of low-income housing tax credits and multifamily housing bonds. “This initiative will yield significant benefits for the three properties and the residents we serve,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “The physical condition of these properties will be greatly enhanced and that, in turn, leads to lower operational and maintenance costs.”

“These improvements further our mission of providing quality affordable housing for our residents,” Sean Gilbert, KCDC’s Senior Vice President of Housing, added. “KCDC has been able to dramatically impact the quality of life for 705 Knoxville families by utilizing the LIHTC 4% credit/tax-exempt bonds.  If not for these important financing tools, low-income families would be forced to reside in aging units with deteriorating structures and without modern amenities and improved energy efficiency.  Our families will be able to focus on job growth and their children’s education without the distraction of obsolete housing structures.”

The plans are part of KCDC’s transition of its public housing stock to the rental assistance demonstration (RAD) program, which was created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2012 to help agencies continue their housing mission without dependence on federal funds. The program allows housing agencies to leverage public and private debt and equity to reinvest in their properties.

For more information about this project or to share your organization’s 4 percent LIHTC success story, please contact nahro@nahro.org.

Why New Market Tax Credits Matter: Three Success Stories

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) help localities build stronger neighborhoods by investing in housing, schools, and other vital projects that are targeted at helping low-income communities. Between 2003 and 2015, $42 billion in direct NMTC authority has generated almost $80 billion in capital for local businesses and revitalization projects. NMTC investment has resulted in the creation or retention of over 750,000 jobs, and the financing of over 178 million square feet (sq. ft.) of commercial real estate and almost 14,000 affordable housing units. NMTCs are a proven and effective tool for generating private-sector investments in communities in need. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing and to increase the sustainability of communities.  Continue reading

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Walla Walla Housing Authority

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Before (bottom) and after (top) pictures of Emerald Family Properties buildings. Photo credits: Walla Walla Housing Authority

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.

Walla Walla Housing Authority: Emerald Family Properties

Walla Walla (Wash.) County has the largest affordable housing gap in the state of Washington, and so the pressure is high to keep existing public and affordable housing. Recently, the Walla Walla Housing Authority (WWHA) used a combination of 4 percent LIHTCs and tax-exempt bonds to revitalize and preserve the Emerald Family Properties, an 84-unit family development with two- to five-bedroom units in nine neighborhoods. The financing package allowed the housing authority to upgrade both the interiors and the exteriors of the units, and to increase energy efficiency in a way that would lower the utility costs for the residents. Emerald Family Properties has project-based vouchers attached to its units, and thus is able to serve very low-income families as well as those of moderate income.

“This project never would have pointed in the 9 percent LIHTC credit round, so the 4 percent LIHTC and tax-exempt bonds are essential financing tools that we use to address our community’s housing needs,” said WWHA Executive Director Renée Rooker. “Over the past five years, we have developed 245 units serving elderly individuals, veterans, persons with disabilities, and families by utilizing 4 percent LIHTCs and tax-exempt bonds. Besides Emerald Family Properties, we will have completed 80 more units in the next couple of weeks. None of this could have transpired without these financing tools.”

For more information about this project or to share your organization’s 4 percent LIHTC success story, please contact nahro@nahro.org.

Thank You, John Bohm

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After 13 years at NAHRO, including 13 months spent as Acting CEO during the search for a permanent leader, John Bohm is leaving the association to move out of Washington, D.C. We at NAHRO thank him for his service, mentorship, and friendship, and wish him the best.

During his tenure, Bohm led the Congressional Relations Department, successfully educating and informing members of Congress and their staff about the importance of HUD appropriations, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other vital affordable housing and community development-related issues. He also helped build a responsible platform for NAHRO advocacy, co-authored the NAHRO Advocacy Training Guide, and conducted advocacy training sessions across the country.

“I’m very proud of everything that’s been accomplished here,” Bohm says, “but I’d like to emphasize that none of it would have happened without the ideas and hard work of many past and present NAHRO staff. I’ve been privileged to work with smart, creative, diligent people who are dedicated to our members and the good work they do, and while I will miss them all, I am happy that the association remains in their more than capable hands.”

Bohm also helped create the Housing America advocacy campaign, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. He instituted the campaign’s signature “What Home Means to Me” calendar contest and helped grow the campaign, which now includes both Housing America Month and the popular Voices of Housing conference panel. He also redesigned NAHRO’s annual Legislative Conference (now known as the Washington Conference), launched the popular yearly “Perspectives on the Federal Budget” panel, and created both the Mary K. Nenno Advocacy Award and the NAHRO Legislator of the Year Award.

As staff liaison for the Legislative Network, Bohm increased the focus and breadth of the group’s responsibilities. He also staffed NAHRO’s Small Agency Task Force and helped increase Congressional awareness of issues affecting small housing authorities.

Bohm trained and mentored many members of NAHRO staff. He also wrote a semi-regular “Notes from the Front” column for the NAHRO Monitor for many years.