National Housing Trust
National Housing Trust Newsletter
 February 1, 2012
In This Issue
NSP2 Helps Preserve and Green Affordable Homes
NHTCDF Receives OFN-Starbucks Partnership Grant
Single Transaction Preserves 1,100 Affordable Apts Across Wisconsin
White House Rental Realignment Pilots
House Committee Redrafts Section 8 Reform Bill
FTA Proposes Policy Changes to Incentivize Affordable Housing Near Transit
Shelterforce Magazine Features Transit-Oriented Preservation
How Does Affordable Housing Data Drive Policy?
The Loss of an Affordable Housing Giant:
A Tribute to Lawrence Simons

Larry_Simons

On behalf of NHT, I would like to express our sadness at the loss of Lawrence (Larry) Simons, an affordable housing leader who left an indelible mark on our field. As FHA Commissioner, Larry oversaw the financing of more than 1 million affordable apartments. Later in life, Larry fought to save this crucial housing resource. He led and inspired a generation of housing advocates and attorneys.


Larry was Assistant Secretary for Housing/FHA Commissioner throughout the Carter Administration, serving under HUD Secretaries Patricia Roberts Harris and Moon Landrieu. A long time believer in good government, Larry declared on his first day at HUD, "We can get housing moving again in this country. When people want to make government work, it can work." Under his leadership, 1.4 million Section 8 and Public Housing apartments were funded, including 800,000 new construction and substantial rehab and 600,000 Section 8 certificates/vouchers. This remains the largest portion of HUD's deep subsidy inventory. He also created the mod rehab program and began the comprehensive modernization of Public Housing. He used the FHA multifamily programs and GNMA, together with 11(b) tax-exempt financing, to finance Section 8 projects. He revitalized the 223(f) program and used it to refinance and acquire existing properties and to finance mod rehab. He developed the Flexible Subsidy program and used the Section Loan Management program to preserve the Section 236 inventory.

Larry made long-lasting contributions as a board member of NHT and a number of other national organizations.

Mr. Simons is survived by his son (Kenneth Simons), wife of 64 years (the former Annalou Kadin), daughter (Barbara Flexner), four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Mr. Simons' life and career leaves a lasting legacy for housing advocates. He will be missed.

Sincerely,
Michael Bodaken
CM_groundbreaking_shovelsHUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 Helps Preserve and Green Affordable Homes, Revitalize A Community

On December 20th, District of Columbia government leaders, residents, neighbors, and community developers gathered to celebrate the ground breaking of Copeland Manor in Washington, D.C.'s Marshall Heights neighborhood, marking the commencement of construction to fully renovate and energy retrofit the affordable apartments. The preservation and renovation of Copeland Manor was made possible by a Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) grant funded through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Preserving and improving Copeland Manor will help reverse the decline of a neighborhood that has been beset by home foreclosures and property abandonment. Copeland Manor was plagued by significant financial problems, deteriorating physical conditions, and high and growing vacancy rates. To save their homes, Copeland residents selected the National Housing Trust-Enterprise Preservation Corporation (NHT/Enterprise) to help them acquire and rehabilitate their apartments. The rehabilitation of this housing will dramatically improve the physical condition of the buildings and the site, provide a better quality of life for residents, and eliminate the most destabilizing conditions in the neighborhood.

Funding through HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) has proven critical to the preservation of Copeland Manor. A grant of $3.6 million in NSP2 funds is being used to help finance property and site renovations of approximately $56,000 per apartment and establish reserves to ensure the property is well capitalized for long term use as affordable housing. NSP2 funding was secured by an experienced consortium led by the NHT Community Development Fund (NHTCDF) and the Telesis Corporation.

"NSP is stabilizing neighborhoods, creating jobs, and rebuilding our economy," said Mercedes Márquez, HUD's Assistant Secretary. "I salute the hard work that has made this ground breaking for Copeland Manor possible. The Project Rebuild proposal in the American Jobs Act would scale these extraordinary investments with another $15 billion nationally."

A previous grant from the federal Weatherization Assistance Program provided energy efficient windows and new energy efficient HVAC systems for Copeland. The rehabilitation of Copeland Manor will meet the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. Residents will enjoy significant health and economic benefits as a result of utility saving and environmentally friendly improvements.
create_jobs_USANHTCDF Receives Grant from Opportunity Finance Network-Starbucks Partnership
 
The National Housing Trust Community Development Fund (NHTCDF) just received a capital grant from the Create Jobs for USA Fund, a collaborative effort between Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) designed to spur job growth and retention. NHTCDF will use the capital grant to provide vital predevelopment and interim development loans to mission-driven affordable housing developers that save and improve affordable homes. NHTCDF is the only certified nationwide CDFI dedicated exclusively to this mission. Since its inception in 1999, NHTCDF has made more than $15 million in loans, leveraging $600 million in private investment and helping to preserve nearly 6,700 affordable homes.

The Create Jobs for USA Fund distributes donations to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that make loans to community businesses across the U.S. Donors can contribute $5 or more to the fund by purchasing a red, white, and blue wristband with the message "Indivisible" sold at 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations across the country.  
Interested borrowers may find more information about eligibility and the application process on NHTCDF's website here.

Single Transaction Preserves 1,100 Affordable Apts across Wisconsin  

 WHEDA_logo

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has finalized a $75 million transaction with the Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation(WHPC) to preserve nearly 1,100 affordable apartments in 55 buildings. The transaction is one of the largest affordable housing tax credit transactions in U.S. history.

  

The financing was made possible through an $18.4 million Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity investment from Boston Capital Corporation and tax exempt bonds issued by WHEDA through the New Issue Bond Program (NIBP). The NIBP loan totaled $34 million for 30 years at a 3.97% fixed rate.  WHEDA also contributed an equity bridge loan of $7.3 million.  

 

Of the project, WHEDA Executive Directory Wyman Winston said, "This statewide project is a glimmering example of the true promise that good partners bring when they set their sights on a common goal."

White House Seeks to Reduce Administrative Burden, Costs with Rental Alignment Proposalsrental_pilots_cover

 

The White House has released a number of policy proposals to reform the administration of key Federal rental programs in order to save time and money. One of these proposals, a Physical Inspection Pilot, is now being implemented in select states. 

 

The Physical Inspections Pilot is designed to reduce the number of physical inspections required of a property with multiple federal funding sources including LIHTC, USDA-RD programs and loan guarantees, as well as HUD programs like FHA insurance, CDBG, HOME, Choice Neighborhoods and project-based rental assistance. Currently, a property with multiple federal funding sources may be subject to numerous physical inspections using multiple sets of standards, which can cause unnecessary delays and costs. The Physical Inspections Pilot seeks to reconcile these requirements and streamline the physical inspection process so that only one federally-sponsored inspection needs to be performed per property.

State agencies participating in the physical inspections pilot include Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, and Ohio.

The White House's Rental Policy Working Group is composed of the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC), National Economic Council (NEC), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), and the Treasury.

 

A report detailing the Working Group's policy proposals can be found here.    

House Financial Services Committee Redrafts Section 8 Reform Bill

The Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community OpportunityChairwoman Judy Biggert redrafted the Section 8 Reform bill and released a new draft earlier this month. The bill is now the Affordable Housing and Supportive Services Act (AHSSA) and the text can be found here. A sign-on letter supporting changes to the Project-Based Voucher program can be found here.

AHSSA includes new language that makes significant changes to the project-based voucher program and allows tenant protection vouchers to be converted to long-term rental assistance contracts in order to preserve a property. NHT worked with other housing organizations to secure this language in the new draft.

The Subcommittee intends to consider the bill in early February. It is unclear if the Senate will move on a Section 8 reform bill in the remainder of this session. 
FTA Proposes Policy Changes to Incentivize Affordable Housing near Transit

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is proposing to consider a jurisdiction's plans and policies for preserving subsidized affordable housing near transit when making decisions about allocating funding for transit development through the New Starts/Small Starts program. Over the last several years, NHT joined the National Housing Conference and other partners in urging federal agencies to coordinate transit investments and affordable housing policy. NHT provided comments on an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking recommending that regulations and funding availability be modified to create incentives for preserving affordable rental housing near transit. NHT also joined advocates in meeting with the FTA Administrator and shared the results of a report co-authored by AARP, the National Housing Trust, and Reconnecting America which found that more than 250,000 privately-owned, federally subsidized apartments exist within walking distance to quality transit in 20 metro areas.

While many states and localities are beginning to take steps to support the preservation of affordable housing near transit, we believe more action is needed to ensure that low-income households aren't left out of the move toward transit-oriented development.

The FTA is seeking public comment on this proposed policy change prior to March 26th. The proposed rule can be found here.
Shelterforce Magazine Features Transit-Oriented Preservation

Authored by NHT, the article highlights strategies nonprofit affordable housing developers can use to successfully preserve affordable rental housing near transit.

The article was included in the most recent edition of Shelterforce magazine and can be viewed here
Affordable Housing Database Models and Their Applications.mp4
Webinar explores the role of data in preserving affordable housing.

How Does Affordable Housing Data Drive Policy?  View a Recent Webinar to Learn How 

 

Last month, the National Housing Trust hosted a webinar that delved into three affordable housing database models, how they were developed, what has been accomplished and how they are being used to preserve affordable housing. The webinar included analysis on how these models might be adapted to other states and/or communities. The webinar was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of its ongoing support for innovative state and local affordable housing preservation strategies.

Three approaches were discussed during the webinar:

  • Shimberg Center's Assisted Housing Database and their Lost Properties Inventory and;
  • recently completed work for Denver, CO documenting and mapping the restricted and non-restricted affordable housing inventory near transit.

The objectives of these databases include tracking the loss of formerly subsidized apartments, identifying properties that might be at risk of being lost from the affordable housing stock, and creating a baseline for tracking inventories over time.

You can view the webinar by clicking here.