IHDA Loan Officer of the Month
IHDA's Homeownership Department is pleased to name Eric Norman, Sr. Vice President of Residential Lending at Midwest Community Bank in St. Charles as Loan Officer of the Month." Eric brings 25 years of lending experience to the Midwest team and an extensive knowledge of the mortgages and down payment assistance programs that make homeownership possible for every type of buyer. He provides a wide range of products, including IHDA's down payment assistance programs, to help today's borrowers achieve sustainable homeownership. And by working closely with his clients to determine their needs and individual financial situations, Eric is consistently able to find strategies and programs that exceed their expectations. Thanks, Eric!
A Note from Audra's Desk
I was at an open house last week for Casa Heritage in Melrose Park. This was an acquisition-rehab project sponsored by The Resurrection Project and The Habitat Company. At this event, I met Willa Mae Johnson, a resident. As Mrs. Johnson told us about her husband's death, surviving cancer and related difficulties paying her bills, she did so with a smile - because she is grateful.  She is grateful to live in a beautiful rehabilitated apartment. She is grateful to have grandsons that she is teaching to be thoughtful adults. She is grateful to be back to work. I left this event on cloud nine! Let's face it, this work is not easy. It fills me with pride to know our development partners are really helping people - and not just building "units."

Congratulations to all of the teams that were awarded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits in September. We had 36 applications and 12 awards. If you were awarded credits, your development team will be contacted soon for a mandatory set-up meeting to kick off the closing process. We find these meetings very helpful and hope you do, too.

On October 19, at 10:00 a.m., the Senate has graciously agreed to hold a Subject Matter Hearing for the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit - sometimes known as the Donation Credit. This program is set to expire at the end of 2016 if there is no legislative action. If you have experience with the credit and want to help us extend it, please join us at the Bilandic Building at 160 North LaSalle Street in Chicago. Please contact Charlotte Flickinger at (312) 519-9550 or cflickin@ihda.org to let her know you plan to attend. 

Congratulations to the following newly appointed Housing Task Force members: Jennifer Hill, Peter Holsten, Diane Baker, Michael Goetz, Mary Keating, Nancy Firfer, Mike Neihaus, Cindy Holler, Dave Neary, Allison Clements and David Hirsch. The Housing Task Force is made up of staff from state agencies and housing experts throughout Illinois that represent rural, suburban and urban areas. Thank you for your dedication to IHDA and affordable housing.

Very soon, IHDA will be opening up the Single-Family Rehabilitation Program to provide grant funds to rehab aging housing stock in targeted communities. Check for the applications on our Revitalization and Repair Programs page.

Starting November 1, please visit IHDA at our new location at 111 E. Wacker in Chicago. We will not be open to the public on October 28 and 31. We apologize for this inconvenience but look forward to showing you our new space!

Also due to the move, we have changed the date of the October Board Meeting to Friday, October 14. We will still be located at 401 N. Michigan for this meeting.

Executive Director
LIHTC Updates: Everything You Need to Know
IHDA Program NewsThank you to everyone who attended the Qualified Allocation Plan summits in August and September. We received good feedback in Springfield, Rockford, Marion, Belleville and Chicago, and look forward to considering the suggestions that came from our meetings.

The deadline to submit a Preliminary Project Assessment for Round I 2017 is coming up soon on November 4, 2016. Sponsors approved to submit a Round I application in February of 2017 will be the first to apply through an electronic submission process. For those just starting to conceptualize your deal, reach out to Christine Moran for a meeting. We are in a position to provide technical assistance on financing and encourage you to come in as early as possible to discuss your options.

IHDA is looking at potential scoring criteria changes. We are considering removing rental assistance as a scored item and shifting the emphasis and scoring to 30% AMI units instead - a recommendation that came directly from the development community. 

Finally, we will be creating and testing an Opportunity Index widget in the near future that will identify areas that complement Opportunity Areas. Once it is ready, your feedback will directly impact whether we make this a permanent tool and scoring factor in the next QAP. Stay tuned for more updates.
Grant Funding Available to Maintain and Demolish Abandoned Homes
IHDA Program News IHDA is now accepting applications from municipalities and counties under the Abandoned Property Program (APP), an initiative launched in 2013 to provide grant funding to local governments for the maintenance and demolition of abandoned homes within their jurisdictions.

Grant funds are available under the second round of APP to assist local governments as they secure, maintain, demolish or rehabilitate abandoned residential properties. Applicants can receive up to $75,000, or as much as $250,000 if matching funds are provided. Funding is collected from fees paid by banks and lending institutions with each foreclosure they file. 

Applications are now available on our Revitalization and Repair Programs page and are due no later than October 21, 2016 by 3 p.m. For more information, contact our Community Affairs Department at APPinfo@ihda.org.
Young Renters Are Struggling to Save for Down Payments
Nationally, 79 percent of young renters want to purchase a home, according to a survey of 30,000 renters from Apartment List, but they lack the savings required for a down payment. In fact, 37 percent of aspiring homeowners have not saved anything for a down payment, and those who have started saving are short on the funds they need. As a result, many buyers are forced to delay their plans for homeownership and take on significant debt when they do eventually buy. 

As saving for a down payment of 10 or 20 percent becomes more difficult, down payment assistance programs can be the difference between buying a home and not. Lenders who offer IHDA's first mortgage programs are able to connect their clients with up to $7,500 in assistance for down payments and closing costs, competitive interest rates, and tax benefits that help buyers save over the life of their loan. IHDA's 1stHomeIllinois and @HomeIllinois loans have helped more than 4,000 Illinois households purchase their first home without draining their savings, proving that down payment assistance is a practical strategy for lenders and Realtors to help today's buyers expand their options.

Visit www.ihda.org today to see how you can boost your business in 2016.
Mortgage Refinance is Possible for Thousands of Underwater Homeowners
At the worst point of the housing crash in 2012, more than 40 percent of Chicago-area homeowners were underwater. While the crisis has subsided significantly over the past four years, some Illinois markets are still burdened with a large number of negative equity homeowners, with more than 11 percent of all homeowners in the state owing more on their mortgage than their home is worth.

But Illinois lenders have more options to help their borrowers refinance with nearly $46 million in federal assistance available under IHDA's I-Refi program. I-Refi offers up to $50,000 to buy down the unpaid principal of a homeowner's mortgage to bring their loan in line with their home's current value and refinance into a new IHDA loan that lowers their monthly mortgage payments. If your borrowers are underwater and don't expect relief soon, options do exist, and the I-Refi program can be a lifeline to escape negative equity and regain a significant source of household wealth.

Visit www.ihda.org/irefi for more information or contact IHDA's Homeownership team at AtHomeIllinois@ihda.org to become a participating lender today.
Help Is Available for Homeowners at Risk of Foreclosure
Even though the housing market has recovered in many areas of the state, thousands of homeowners are still struggling to pay their mortgages. Illinois saw 13,800 completed foreclosures within the last 12 months, according to CoreLogic, and 3.6 percent of all mortgaged homes are in serious delinquency.

But help is available for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. The Illinois Hardest Hit Program, which re-opened in August, provides eligible homeowners with up to $35,000 in reinstatement assistance and monthly mortgage payment assistance, giving them time to get back on their feet without losing their home. Homeowners whose income has shrunk by at least 15 percent due to qualifying hardships - including unemployment, underemployment or death of a spouse - are eligible to apply, and should not wait until they are already behind on their payments to get help.

Households can apply for assistance through an approved HHF Sponsor Agency, who will determine eligibility and guide them through the process. Homeowners can also start an application for free at www.IllinoisHardestHit.org and will be quickly connected with a local housing agency in their area.
Renovated Homes Now for Lease in Bloomington-Normal
The cities of Bloomington and Normal celebrated a milestone on August 10 as Brinshore Development completed the rehabilitation of 26 vacant single-family homes scattered across the two cities.  

Purchased through foreclosure sales, short sales and from banks, the formerly vacant homes underwent substantial gut rehabs to bring each property back to productive use as affordable rental housing. Most properties were completely gutted over a 14 month period and received major upgrades to plumbing, electric, heating, and ventilation systems. Other improvements include new siding, roofs, windows, doors, and kitchens. Some properties were in such disrepair that they were demolished and replaced with new homes. The development is one of the first to use Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from IHDA to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed properties, placing them back in service and on property tax rolls in hard hit neighborhoods.

Congratulations to Brinshore on wrapping up a challenging but successful project!
Construction Underway to Change Public Housing in Rockford
The Rockford Housing Authority broke ground on the Grove at Keith Creek on August 30, starting the first of a three-phase plan to replace the decades-old Fairgrounds Valley Apartments on the city's west side. The RHA, was joined by officials from Gorman & Company, IHDA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of Rockford to celebrate the milestone that had been in progress since 2014.

The Grove will consist of 17 new one- and two-story townhouses with 49 units of affordable housing for current Fairgrounds residents. The townhomes will be built on vacant land in a mixed-income neighborhood close to education, transportation and job opportunities. The development is a critical and hard-fought step in the RHA's plan to transform public housing in Rockford by rehabbing or rebuilding more than 1,100 units across the city through HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration program.
Preservation of Affordable Housing Completes Renovations at Newberry Park Apartments
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) was joined by residents and local leaders on September 19 to celebrate the completion of a $5 million redevelopment of the 84-unit Newberry Park Apartments on Chicago's Near West Side. The property was built in the early 1990s to provide affordable housing for families that had been priced out of the resource-rich neighborhood, but after more than 20 years, Newberry's two residential buildings and management offices required significant improvements. 

POAH's purchase and renovation of the development extended the affordability of the property's expiring rent restrictions, ensuring the complex's two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments will continue to be affordable to low- and moderate-income families. Funded by IHDA, the City of Chicago, HUD and others, the year-long renovation project preserves quality housing near transportation, schools and other amenities. Visit POAH Chicago's website to read more.
Macoupin County Housing Authority Cuts Ribbons on New Homes in Gillespie, Staunton and Bunker Hill
Representatives from the Macoupin County Housing Authority (MCHA) and Macoupin Housing Services were joined by local leaders to cut ribbons at three sites on September 23, completing work on 38 new single-family rental homes in Southern Macoupin County.

Financed with Low-Income Tax Credits and built on vacant land in the cities of Staunton, Bunker Hill and Gillespie, each site has a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes for families at a range of income levels. The homes will be rented for 15 years, and will then become available for purchase. As a HUD-certified credit counseling agency, the MCHA will work with residents throughout the rental period to prepare them for homeownership, improving their credit scores and teaching them how to maintain their homes so they can qualify for a mortgage when they are ready to buy.
Casa Heritage Ribbon Cutting Preserves Affordable Housing in Melrose Park
The Resurrection Project was joined by elected officials, community leaders and residents as it hosted a ribbon cutting for Casa Heritage on September 29, celebrating the preservation of 142 units of affordable housing in Melrose Park.

The 40 year old Casa Heritage underwent a year-long renovation of the property's seven, two-story buildings containing a mixture of studio and one-bedroom apartments, upgrading each unit and keeping rents affordable for the development's long-time residents. Previously owned by The Habitat Company, the development was acquired by The Resurrection Project for $800,000 below market value, which allowed the redevelopment to qualify for additional resources through the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program that made it possible for the redevelopment to move forward.
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.