IHDA Loan Officer of the Month
IHDA's Homeownership Department is pleased to name Diana Nicholls, Mortgage Lender at Busey Bank in Decatur as Loan Officer of the Month." Diana has worked in the banking and mortgage industry for more than 27 years, and her clients count on her to guide them through the process from beginning to end. She helps her customers to understand their overall financial picture, and helps them make the right decision for their situation with the flexibility of the @HomeIllinois and 1stHomeIllinois mortgages. Thanks, Diana!
Rev. Jeffrey Brown talks about his work with at-risk youth. Photo: New Vintage Photography.
Industry Leaders Discuss Challenges, Opportunities and Realities of Affordable Housing in Illinois
Illinois' leading affordable housing stakeholders weighed in on the policies that will shape the future of the industry at the Illinois Governor's Conference on Affordable Housing last month in Chicago.

Over the two day conference, more than 550 investors, lenders, developers, property managers and others attended sessions on affordable housing policy, its implementation and its impact across the state. One of the biggest concerns was the public conversation surrounding affordable housing in areas of opportunity. During the opening plenary, housing advocates and members of the media explored common challenges caused by the public and political perception of affordable housing, while also raising opportunities for the industry to help shape the discussion around the cost and location of affordable developments.

The event was also highlighted by keynote addresses from Peter Sagal of NPR and Rev. Jeffrey Brown of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, whose initiative played a key role in reducing Boston's violent crime rate by 79 percent in the 1990s.

Thanks to co-host Illinois Housing Council and everyone who made the 2016 conference a success. Session presentations and conference photos are available at www.ilgovernorsconference.org.
Pictured from left: Nandini Natarajan, IHDA Chief Financial Officer; Jim Coreno, Sr. VP of U.S. Bank Home Mortgage's HFA Division; Tara Pavlik, IHDA Managing Director of Homeownership Programs. Photo: New Vintage Photography.
U.S. Bank Recognizes IHDA as the Country's Largest HFA Originator of Single Family Mortgages
U.S. Bank announced on March 29 that IHDA, for the second year in a row, led the country as their largest HFA originator of single family mortgages in 2015.

After a record year in 2014, lenders closed more than $874 million in first mortgages and down payment assistance through the 1stHomeIllinois and @HomeIllinois programs to make homeownership possible for 7,200 first-time buyers last year, or 14 percent of all new buyers in Illinois during that time. While home sales are off to a strong start this year, first-time buyers continue to list saving for a down payment as their biggest challenge. But with IHDA's programs that provide up to $7,500 in down payment assistance, lenders and Realtors can offer some of the most attractive mortgage programs in the marketplace to make homeownership possible for more buyers throughout the state.

Visit our Lenders & Realtors page for more information.
Veteran Community Leader to Join IHDA as Chief of Staff
We are excited to announce that Debra Olson, former Executive Director of the DuPage Homeownership Center (DHOC), will join IHDA this month as the Authority's new Chief of Staff.

Debra comes to IHDA with a wealth of affordable housing and community development experience, including 16 years with an affordable housing nonprofit and 13 years in elected office. She has done an excellent job at DHOC where she managed the programs and finances of a leading housing counseling agency in the western suburbs. Under her leadership, the agency has had a productive history with IHDA, and was even named IHDA's Housing Counseling Agency of the Year in 2013.

Prior to joining DHOC, Debra served on the DuPage County Board and was a member of the DuPage Federation of Human Services Reform, the DuPage County Continuum of Care and several suburban Chambers of Commerce.

Debra's first day is Tuesday, April 12. Please join us in welcoming her to IHDA!
IHDA Launches New Website and First-Ever Digital Annual Report
We are excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website and all-digital Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report found at www.ihda.org.

The website and report each feature improved design, simplified navigation and a cleaner layout of content to make information about the state's housing resources, tools and trends more accessible to current and future partners, including those using smart phones and tablets. The website is divided into five main sections organized by audience so users can quickly navigate the site to find the information they need. Both projects were carried out to improve efficiency and transparency, and to create new opportunities to highlight the great work of our partners.

We look forward to hearing your feedback. Let us know what you think at communications@ihda.org.
See the View from Illinois in the Great QAP Debate
IHDA Program News
To make the QAP process more transparent and collaborative, Affordable Housing Finance is providing the space for a constructive conversation on the pressures faced by HFAs and developers. 

The Great QAP Debate is a series of articles exploring multiple perspectives about qualified allocation plans, providing both sides with the opportunity to tell their story. Journalists, developers and others have voiced their concerns and advice, while HFAs have weighed in on their obligations and the realities of administering the LIHTC. IHDA's Executive Director Audra Hamernik was one of the latest to contribute, discussing the pressures that influence the QAP in Illinois and how IHDA is working to bridge the divide with the development community.

Read The View from Illinois at AHF, and stay tuned as both sides discuss challenges and opportunities to find common ground.
IHDA Vice Chairperson Karen Davis presents the Jon Linfield Award to Paris City Manager Paul Ruff and Jayne Lourash from the Laborers' Home Development Corp. Photo: Vintage Photography
Illinois Developers and Legislators Recognized as Affordable Housing Champions
IHDA Awards & Recognition
Three affordable housing developers and State Representative Esther Golar were recognized as Affordable Housing Champions at the Governor's Conference on Affordable Housing, acknowledging the work of the state's partners who made exceptional contributions to affordable housing in 2015.

The Jon Linfield Award was presented to the Laborers' Home Development Corporation for Maple Ridge II, a 42-unit apartment community in Paris that allows families to live affordable near work and helped a local manufacturer attract new employees.

Rise Community Development and the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority accepted the Wyvetter H. Younge Award for Emerald Ridge in East Alton, a development that transformed barracks-style WWII-era apartments into 46 new single-family rental homes.

Water's Edge of South Elgin, a tremendously successful development by the Burton Foundation, received the Gale Cincotta Award for their remarkable integration of supportive and independent housing in South Elgin's growing downtown.

Finally, former State Representative Esther Golar was recognized as the 2015 Legislator of the Year for her perseverance in holding absentee landlords accountable and fighting for the interests of working families in her district.

A special thanks to the state's Housing Task Force for selecting this year's winners, and congratulations to the 2015 champions!
Access Peoria resident Erin Flaherty (fourth from right) cuts the ribbon for the development's official opening. Photo: LISC.
New Duplexes Bring Accessible Homes to Peoria's East Bluff Neighborhood
IFF celebrated the completion of the Access Peoria project on March 15, unveiling eight new duplexes offering 16 rental units that are wheelchair accessible and available to persons with disabilities.

The IHDA-financed development is part of IFF's Home First Initiative, which acquires, develops and owns integrated homes that remain permanently affordable to low-income renters with disabilities. The initiative also helped to stabilize a hard-hit area of the city by turning vacant lots - many of which had been identified as areas of concern by neighbors and city officials - into attractive, accessible homes that offer independence and personal choice for low-income persons with disabilities.

Congratulations to IFF, the City of Peoria, East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services and the Greater Peoria Local Initiative Support Corp. on their grand opening!
Developers... We Want to Hear From You
Please remember to reach out to IHDA when planning your next groundbreaking or grand opening. Contact Max Mueller in IHDA's Marketing & Communications Department to help identify the best dates, speakers and media opportunities that make these events a success.