Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Goal: Preserve 14,000 affordable housing units

A new statewide database and preservation loan fund for Ohio has launched with the goal of preserving 14,000 affordable rental units over the next ten years.

Produced and operated by the Ohio Preservation Compact, a partnership of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH), the website's public database includes a comprehensive list of over 3,000 affordable housing communities in the state and is meant to be a valuable tool for property owners and developers.

Comprehensive analyses of the database will allow the Compact to generate profiles of the properties that might be in danger of having their subsidy contracts expire, thereby highlighting prospective preservation opportunities.

"The demand for affordable housing in Ohio remains very high, especially during this difficult economic period," said Doug Garver, executive director of OHFA. "The Ohio Preservation Compact's new website will facilitate a better understanding of the increased need to preserve our existing housing stock and to assist owners and potential developers in identifying projects which are at-risk of losing their rental subsidies."

To help these property owners and developers finance their projects, an $18 million Ohio Preservation Loan Fund has been created to provide flexible capital for predevelopment, acquisition, and bridge financing for preservation projects throughout the state.

Both were made possible by a $5 million award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, first announced in February 2009. The support is part of the foundation's Window of Opportunity initiative, a $150 million, ten-year effort aimed at accelerating affordable housing policy reform in cities and states nationwide.

Additional investors and partners in the loan fund include PNC Community Development Company LLC, U.S. Bank, Key CDC, Fifth Third Bank, WesBanco, the Huntington CDC, National Cooperative Bank, and Ohio Capital Finance Corporation via a CDFI Fund financial assistance grant.

"The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing is pleased to be recognized as a leader on the forefront of preserving affordable housing in Ohio," said Hal Keller, president of OCCH. "The $5 million award from the MacArthur Foundation was leveraged into an $18 million revolving loan fund through a unique public private partnership. This is a rare opportunity."

The fund already has provided a $3 million acquisition loan to the Columbus Housing Network for the rehabilitation of 222 scattered-site units, a $567,000 acquisition loan to Tiffin Estates in Chillicothe, and a $536,000 bridge loan to the Berwick Hotel in Cambridge.

Previous "OHFA" stories on BC:
Ohio one of five states to receive federal foreclosure funds (8/5/10)
OHFA awards $2M in affordable housing tax credits to Anna Louise Inn, North Rhine (7/5/10)
Forest Square wins LEED tax exemption for 21-unit project (1/4/10)
OHFA launches affordable housing office (12/8/09)
Avondale senior project seeking LEED tax break (12/3/09)