Reports + Articles


State Housing Council Approves 60-Year Affordability Term

The State Housing Council voted in favor of approving OHCS’ proposed 60-year affordability term. Beginning with the 2012 Consolidated Funding Cycle (CFC), owners of rental properties that receive any OHCS grant of loan funds (excluding those with only bond or 4% LIHTC financing) will be required by a deed restriction to maintain the property as affordable for the full 60 years. Owners with properties that have expiring rental assistance contracts will also be required to apply for and accept, if approved, renewals. The initial proposal included the possibility of a buyout after year 40 or 50, but OHCS removed the provision prior to the council vote. Instead, in cases where legitimate factors make the full term infeasible, an owner may apply for an exception or modification. The OHCS director will review all such requests, while the State Housing Council would hold final approval authority. Click here for a summary from the OHCS Director’s Bulletin or click here for the State Housing Council meeting minutes.

— Posted on 2/28/2011

Governor Names Acting Director for OHCS

Governor John Kitzhaber announced Rick Crager as the acting director for Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) in a February 15 press release. Outgoing OHCS Director Victor Merced was one of 24 heads of various departments that Governor Kitzhaber indicated he would look to replace back in December. Crager joined OHCS in 1998, serving as chief financial officer and financial services and investment portfolio manager before becoming deputy director in 2006. He previously filled the acting director role immediately prior to Merced’s appointment, also in 2006. Though the governor’s office did not release an official timeline, advocates believe the new OHCS director will not be named until after the current state legislative session.

— Posted on 2/17/2011

President’s FY12 Budget Proposal Contains Important Preservation Provisions

Released on Feb 14, the Administration’s proposed FY12 budget includes a variety of items pertinent to Preservation efforts in Oregon. Most notably, the proposed HUD budget provides funding for the project-based Section 8 program ($9.4 billion, up by $871 million from FY10 enacted levels) that would ensure HUD can fulfill all existing contract commitments. While the overall tenant-based Section 8 program numbers increased, the proposed Tenant Protection voucher funding would represent a decrease ($75 million, down from $120 million in FY10), which could mean fewer available vouchers for qualified families displaced when certain HUD-assisted affordable housing exits the inventory. The proposed budget also includes significant cuts to programs that help produce housing for seniors, people with disabilities, and families.

The proposed FY12 budget for the Department of Treasury includes a provision to grant qualifying Preservation properties a 30% basis boost when using 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), similar to that authorized for 9% LIHTCs in 2008 legislation. Another provision would allow income targeting in LIHTC units to increase to 80% of area median income (AMI), as long as they are offset by units serving households with lower incomes and the average percentage of AMI in the building does not exceed the 60% threshold. The Administration believes both provisions will stimulate greater use of LIHTCs in the Preservation of HUD-assisted and Rural Development properties.

Finally, the Department of Agriculture’s proposed FY12 budget represents a possible step backward for Preservation efforts in rural communities. While many of the Department’s housing programs would receive funding near FY10 levels, the proposed budget eliminates the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) demonstration program and the Preservation Revolving Loan Fund (PRLF).

(Note: FY11 funding levels are not used in comparisons above because Congress, as of February 16, has yet to pass FY11 appropriations bills.)

Click here for HUD’s press release, which includes a link to the HUD budget summary and information on the LIHTC provisions. Click here for the Treasury budget summary. Click here for the Agriculture budget summary.

— Posted on 2/16/2011

Oregon Senators Reintroduce Legislation to Allow Use of Residual Receipts for Preservation

On February 10, Oregon’s two U.S. Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, introduced S. 317, the Affordable Housing Preservation and Revitalization Act of 2011. The bill, identical to stand-alone legislation the two Senators put forward in the 111th Congress (see news post from 9/16/09), would allow for the transfer of funds in a Preservation property’s Residual Receipt account to a non-profit entity acquiring the project. Currently, when such a property transfers ownership, the federal government recaptures the HUD-controlled Residual Receipt funds, which result from revenue that exceeds the amounts approved for operating expenses, reserve requirements, and distributions to property owners. Under the proposed legislation, the new owner could only use the transferred Residual Receipt account for a small number of activities, including funding rehabilitation and, to a limited degree, acquisition. Click here for further information about S. 317.

— Posted on 2/14/2011