Volume 10, Issue 1
Keeping you up to date on MHEG in just a minute’s time.
Northeast Region Update
John Wiechmann Greetings Friends and Happy Spring! As I write this, I am cautiously optimistic that we’ve seen the last of snow across our entire footprint. This time of year is always exciting – we see the shoots of new developments begin to sprout and the roots take hold. A few states have awarded tax credits and several more will make their announcements shortly. Soon thereafter, our partners will “spring” into action, creating more quality affordable housing for deserving families across our footprint. Much like growing a garden, creating, constructing and operating affordable housing is a process that requires patience, nurturing and persistence. Every day, our investors, developers, contractors, managers, lenders, housing finance agencies and other government officials work together to create as many safe, decent and affordable homes as possible – each demonstrates the required patience, nurturing and persistence. Last year, those traits allowed us to partner with you to grow over 1,600 additional homes. That’s a big garden that will change a lot of lives! I am optimistic we can do even more in 2017. As always, please stay in touch with our elected officials and their staff. As my colleagues mention later in this letter, advocacy for the Housing Credit, HOME and CDBG Funds and HUD funding is as important as ever. While we don’t know when (or if) tax reform will happen and we don’t know what the FY ’18 budget will hold, we do know that communication and relationship building pay off. These activities should take place both in Washington D.C. and back at home. What is the most effective activity you can participate in? Host an open house, ribbon cutting or property tour for a Member of Congress and/or their staff. When Senators and Representatives meet the residents, see the quality construction and hear firsthand
Scott Fitzpatrick how these programs change lives, it personalizes the value and impact of what you do and creates supporters of the Housing Credit, HOME, CDBG and HUD programs. Thank you to all of our volunteer leaders, investors, developers, property managers, financing partners and government officials for letting MHEG change lives for a better tomorrow! We are grateful for the partnerships. See you on June 5th at our Annual Meeting!
I’d like to highlight two recent events that took place in Des Moines. This past April, MHEG staff member Amy Leonard participated in a property beautification day hosted by Community Housing Initiatives (CHI) for Grant Terrace in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Several members of CHI’s staff, residents, students from Central College and Amy volunteered to make upgrades to the community areas, grounds and landscaping at this affordable senior housing development (see pictures below). The materials used in the event were paid for through a grant from
Kindest regards, John Wiechmann
I would also like to report on a property tour that we recently conducted here in Des Moines with local delegation representatives. On April 27th, Alec Kennedy (Senator Grassley’s office), Matthew Sexton (Senator Ernst’s office) and Eric Baker (Congressman Young’s office) toured three properties highlighting the success of the LIHTC program in Iowa. We greatly appreciate their time to view these developments and learn firsthand the impact made by the housing credit program.
Northwest Region Update Cindy Koster
MHEG closed equity on two projects in early 2017. Victory Park is a 70 unit Veterans project located on the Veteran Administration campus in Lincoln, NE. The entire project will have project based vouchers and supportive services for those who faithfully and honorably served our Country. We are proud to be a partner on this project with Burlington Capital. Construction completion is expected January 2018. Meeting with U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, 2nd District of Kansas
The Kansas Housing Association recently sponsored a trip to Washington D.C. and invited representatives from the Missouri and Oklahoma Housing Associations to join us. Attending were: Pat Beatty, Fred Bentley, Erica Dobreff, Beth Easter, Sophie George, Trey George, Matt Gillam, Chris Hite, Steve Hunt, Tony Krsnich, David Rhodes, Doug Smith, Jeff Smith, and Kathy Sorkin. Representing MHEG were John Wiechmann, Andrea Frymire, and yours truly. This was our third trip so we know our way around and the Delegations know us and our issues. My overall impression is that they are aware of the good we are doing for residents and economy. If you ask each of us about tax reform and when it will happen, there will be many different answers. I am confident that our delegations will be proponents of the LIHTC program when the time comes. All were supporters of the HOME program and none were in favor of the President’s budget proposal; good news for HUD funding. All in all, lots of uncertainty about when and what tax reform will be. Our timing was good in the legislative process.
We are pleased to welcome another new partner to the MHEG portfolio. Cohen Esrey Affordable Partners has been developing nationally the past two decades. With an allocation of LIHTC, the substantial rehabilitation for the development known as The Brewery Lofts (Hastings, NE), has begun construction. The two buildings are listed on the National Park Register of Historical Places and are eligible for both Federal and State Historical Credits. The brewery building and bottling building will be converted to 35 family units consisting of one-, two-and three-bedroom units. We look forward to our continued partnership and a successful project. Construction completion is expected January 2018. In February, four Nebraska CRANE (Collaborative Resources Allocation for Nebraska) projects were allocated credits. MHEG will be providing equity on three of these projects. CRANE is the “non-competitive” set-aside in Nebraska targeting developments with specific economic growth, community development and specific types of affordable housing. NIFA’s QAP requires a set-aside of up to 33% of the annual LIHTC for the CRANE allocation. We will discuss the specific projects later this year as we prepare for equity closing. This process from application to allocation has been known to take 1–3 years. Persistence pays off! Congratulations to our partners receiving an allocation! Thank you to all the funding partners with sources helping to escalate the projects to an allocation. The NIFA conference in March brought our partners from all over the state and region to Omaha. We enjoyed visiting and catching up during the annual MHEG “thank-you” dinner. It is always a pleasure to see all of you in person! Thank you to all of our investors, partners, and others that help make the projects in the northwest region successful!
Please keep in touch with your Congressional Delegation, specifically your Senator and Representative. Lots going on in Washington D.C. these days with the repair/repeal of the Affordable Care Act, tax reform, infrastructure, immigration and draining the swamp. Most, if not all impact each of us either in our business or personally.
South Region Update
When your livelihood is dependent on the stroke of the pen, it is critical to stay connected.
Spring is here and all of our applications are in with the respective HFAs. It will be a busy summer with awards coming in from Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas between May and August. We look forward to award season, which begins with Oklahoma in May.
So far, the Oklahoma Affordable Housing Act has managed to survive the 2017 Oklahoma legislature. With another significant budget deficit again this year, we are concerned that our industry might lose this valuable resource. The Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing hosted their second annual Affordable Housing Day at the State Capitol in March. Showing your support at the state and national levels is one of the best things you can do for the industry.
NeighborWorks. This was a great day of team building and volunteering to help maintain quality affordable housing in our communities. Thank you to all that helped.
We at MHEG cannot emphasize enough the importance to reach out to your local representatives. Especially now, as our industry experiences uncertainty awaiting tax reform, reach out and show them the importance of affordable housing in our communities.
Central Region Update
Meeting with U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (Kansas)
Meeting with U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, 1st District of Kansas
I had the honor of representing Oklahoma in Washington D.C. in April and met with all seven offices for Oklahoma’s Senators and Representatives.
Our agenda is primarily support of The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017. The Oklahoma delegation was receptive to this legislation as we continue to show the need for affordable housing as demonstrated in the Oklahoma Statewide Housing Needs Assessment. For all of our partners in Oklahoma, please reach out to your Senators and Representatives and request their support. The National Association of REALTORS® recently signed on to the ACTION Campaign and now lends their support to these issues. We wish all of our partners the best of luck on their pending applications and look forward to working with everyone on 2017 awards. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of assistance. It is a pleasure working with each and every one of you! 3