IHDA In This Issue
IHDA Loan Officer of the Month
IHDA's Homeownership Department recognizes Brian Sewell, Branch Manager and Mortgage Advisor at Cherry Creek Mortgage in Woodridge as its "Loan Officer of the Month." Brian has been helping borrowers realize their dream of homeownership for 14 years, earning a reputation for problem solving, creativity and in-depth analysis among customers and colleagues alike. His work to educate his clients on their options, including IHDA's down payment assistance programs, equips his buyers with the knowledge and tools they need to be financially independent. Thanks, Brian!
IHDA Awards & Recognition
Lenders and Realtors - IHDA would like to share the success stories of your new homeowners throughout the state. Send us a photo of your new homeowner, either at their new home or with their lender or Realtor, and we'll feature them on IHDA's Facebook page.

Send your photos to IHDA's Communications team and we'll get them posted!
August 12
5 p.m.

August 20
10 a.m.

Annual IHDA vs. Developers Softball Game
August 20
6 p.m.
Waveland Softball Field
Waveland Ave. & Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60657

September 25
IHDA Launches New Mortgage Program to Boost Homebuying in Hard-Hit Areas
IHDA Program News
IHDA launched the new 1stHomeIllinois loan program on August 3 to make homeownership a reality for up to 4,000 first-time homebuyers in 10 counties hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. The program provides $7,500 in down payment assistance to help new buyers enter the market affordably while fueling the resurgence of the housing market in targeted areas that continue to feel the lingering effects of the recession. 

The down payment assistance is funded through the U.S. Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund, a resource IHDA received to curb foreclosures in Illinois. The Treasury approved IHDA to use $30 million of its HHF resources to assist qualified buyers in 10 targeted areas under the program. Illinois is the second state in the nation to launch a down payment assistance program using HHF funds and one of only three states with approval from the Treasury to use HHF resources to drive housing demand.

1stHomeIllinois has limited funds and is available in 10 select counties on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested buyers can find additional details and a list of eligible counties on IHDA's Homebuyer page.
IHDA Partners with U.S. Treasury to Provide Dramatically Lower Interest Rates to Multifamily Developers
IHDA Program NewsOn July 24, the IHDA board authorized the authority's participation in a new initiative in which the U.S. Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will partner with creditworthy Housing Finance Agencies to provide significantly lower interest rates to support the development and preservation of affordable rental housing.

As a result of this partnership, IHDA will be able to provide capital at reduced rates otherwise unavailable in the current market. Under the new program, Treasury will use the Federal Financing Bank to purchase multifamily loans insured under the Federal Housing Administration's HFA Risk-Sharing Program. Loans are underwritten by IHDA based on pre-approved underwriting standards and provide a very competitive fixed rate of interest - just under 4.25 percent - for a term up to 40 years with a minimum debt coverage ratio of 1.10x. By utilizing this new loan product as well as two new taxable first position mortgages - Credit Advantage and Affordable Advantage - IHDA expects to preserve more than 1,500 units of affordable housing over the next year.

See IHDA's Taxable Programs page for more details.
Funding Available to Support Local Governments' Demolition, Greening and Reuse of Vacant Properties
IHDA Program NewsRound 2 of IHDA's Blight Reduction Program (BRP) opened for applications on August 3, providing an opportunity for local governments and their not-for-profit partners to secure funding to target blighted, vacant homes for demolition, greening and eventual reuse.

Funded by the U.S. Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund, BRP is designed to support communities as they address long-term vacancies that threaten home values, quality of life and public safety. Local governments can receive up to $35,000 per property to transform vacant homes into assets that benefit the surrounding community and help reduce future foreclosures. In March 2015, 14 city and county governments across the state received $5 million under the first round of BRP to demolish more than 150 vacant properties.

The Round 2 application is due September 25, 2015. A webinar offering technical assistance on the application will be held on August 20. Sign up at hhfbrpinfo@ihda.org for webinar instructions. More information and the program application can be found on IHDA's Blight Reduction Program page.
As Concerns About the Housing Crisis Remain, Counselors Offer Resources to Empower Homeowners
IHDA Program NewsA majority of Americans believe the country is still not past the housing crisis, according to a recent survey commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation, with four in five saying it is more likely for a family to fall from the middle class than to join it.

Despite this pessimism, housing counselors across the state have been at the forefront of the response to the foreclosure crisis, working with the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network to provide solutions for those at risk of losing their homes. Since 2012, over 160,000 homeowners have received free housing counseling from IFPN agencies and nearly 1.2 million have been connected to resources and other information. With an additional federal grant of $1.2 million awarded earlier this year under the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, a network of 28 agencies will be able to provide free housing counseling to an estimated 4,350 Illinois households facing delinquency and foreclosure. Services include assistance with loan modification applications, household budget counseling and referrals to local resources as necessary.

Anyone in Illinois who is struggling to make their mortgage payments should visit KeepYourHomeIllinois.org or call 855-KEEP-411 to schedule a free appointment at a nearby counseling agency.
Take the Multifamily Development Amenities Survey
IHDA Program News IHDA and the Illinois Housing Council have worked together this summer to gather feedback from affordable housing development stakeholders as IHDA prepares and drafts the 2016 Qualified Allocation Plan. Following two QAP Summits in Springfield and Chicago, IHDA and IHC held focus groups on Opportunity & Revitalization Areas and Architecture & Design.

One outcome of the Architecture & Design focus group is a survey to gather on-the-ground information about the actual usage of the development amenities required in IHDA's QAP. Any insight to your portfolio's amenity options, as well as information regarding cost and usage of those amenities will help to shape IHDA's approach to the requirements established in the 2016 Plan.

Please complete this survey by August 12 at 5 p.m. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andrea Traudt Inouye at IHC or Spencer Skinner at IHDA.
U.S. Government Accountability Office Releases Report on LIHTC Oversight
IHDA Program NewsOn July 23, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report on the federal administration of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, finding the Internal Revenue Service's oversight to be minimal and recommending that Congress consider naming HUD as a joint administrator of the program.

The GAO found the LIHTC program is not a priority for the IRS in terms of its mission, resources or staffing, citing a limited number of HFA audits, irregular reviews of state QAPs and inadequate or unreliable program data. Without this oversight, the GAO claims the IRS is unable to determine the extent of program compliance among HFAs. The report states that joint administration of the LIHTC program with HUD could better align program responsibilities with each agency's mission and more effectively address existing oversight challenges.

The report is the first in a series of three GAO publications on the LIHTC which will be released between now and spring 2016. The second report will focus on state administration of the Credit and the third will consider development costs and the role of syndicators.

See the Government Accountability Office for the full report.
Voting is Open for Affordable Housing Finance's 2015 Readers' Choice Awards
IHDA Awards & RecognitionSubscribers to Affordable Housing Finance have until August 14 to support IHDA's development partners by selecting the Volunteers of America of Illinois's Hope Manor II as one of the nation's best developments of 2014 and 2015.

Hope Manor II is among the 34 outstanding developments selected as finalists in AHF's annual Readers' Choice Awards. This year's finalists were selected from 112 nominations from across the country and were chosen for their impact, problem solving and innovation.

Competing in the Urban category, Hope Manor II is one of the first large-scale supportive housing developments in the country designed for veterans with families. The campus style community is built on land donated by the City of Chicago and is currently home to more than 100 veterans and family members who were previously homeless or at risk of homelessness. In addition to stable housing, the development provides health and wellness programs, job training and children's activities.

Read about all 34 finalists at Affordable Housing Finance and cast your ballot to support both Hope Manor II and the Volunteers of America of Illinois.
Strong Economic Forecast to Result in Higher Interest Rates This Year
IHDA Financial NewsFederal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on July 15 that the as the U.S. economy continues to improve, the Fed will likely raise interest rates for the first time since 2006.

In a testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen said the decision to gradually raise interest rates is a signal of how much progress the economy has made since the financial crisis, citing the falling unemployment rate and a forecast of stronger growth. With the economy and job market steadily rising, there is less need for lower rates to stimulate growth and it will be appropriate to raise the Federal Funds Rate before the end of the year. While she did not say exactly when the Fed plans to increase its rates, she emphasized that the changes will be gradual and rates will remain accomodative for quite some time after the initial increase.

Read Yellen's testimony at the Federal Reserve.
IHDA vs. Developers Softball Game Update
The annual IHDA vs. Developers softball game has been rescheduled for Thursday, August 20 at 6 p.m. at Lincoln Park's Waveland Avenue field. Mark your calendars and support both teams as IHDA plays for a third consecutive win over their multifamily development partners. 
Developers, Remember to Include IHDA When Planning Your Groundbreakings and Grand Openings
Every new development provides a valuable platform to reach out to the communities we serve and showcase the work we do. Not only are these events important milestones, but they help to establish new partnerships that lead to more support for new developments in the future.

Please contact Max Mueller in IHDA's Marketing & Communications Department when you start planning for your next event. He will help identify the best dates, times, speakers and media opportunities that make these events a success. 
We look forward to hearing from you!