July is right around the corner and we wanted to remind everyone of the HUD deadlines for closing RAD conversions by year end:

Required Action Deadline to close by
November 30, 2018
Deadline to close by
December 31, 2018
Upload all required Financing Plan
documents*
June 15 July 13
Receive a HUD-executed RCC** August 17 September 14
Submit complete closing package** September 1 October 1
All RAD documents approved and ready for HUD signatures** November 15 December 13

* Note: FHA applications should be submitted at roughly the same time as the Financing Plan documents. PHAs should coordinate with their FHA lender to stay on track.

** Note: An RCC that has already been extended up to or beyond 6 months past the date of issuance will have a lower priority for closing during CY2018.

These deadlines don’t always align with standard low income housing tax credit closings and can sneak up quickly.  Keep the following tips in mind to manage a successful year end conversion:

  • Know the RAD checklists (PBV and PBRA) and what transaction documents must be submitted to HUD.
  • Work out any title and survey issues before HUD submission.
  • Establish a detailed RAD timeline and engage with financing partners as soon as possible on the timeline.
  • Share the HUD-required ownership and control provisions that must be included in transaction documents with financing partners prior to the circulation of draft documents.
  • Share the HUD sample RAD Subordination Agreement with lenders as soon as possible.
  • If necessary, consider prioritizing circulation and review of transaction documents that must be submitted to HUD.
  • Account for the time between receiving final HUD approval and HUD signing and mailing documents – this can take over a week.
  • Aim to make an initial submission to HUD within 2 weeks of RCC issuance (if not sooner). A submission beyond 2 months of RCC issuance will have the transaction placed in “Delayed Submission” status.
  • Make HUD aware of any targeted and hard closing deadlines.

Cheers to a smooth year end!

Yesterday, the Trump administration released its proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. Overall, the budget proposes an $8.8 billion (18.3%) reduction in the HUD budget from the 2017 enacted level, a more drastic cut than the $6 billon HUD budget reduction the Administration proposed for fiscal year 2018. Significant proposals in the budget include:

  • Elimination of several programs including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, Public Housing Capital Fund and Choice Neighborhoods
  • $17.5 billion in Section 8 annual contribution contract renewals (an $800+ million decrease from 2017 enacted level)
  • $10.866 billion in project-based rental assistance (a $50 million increase from the 2017 enacted level)
  • $110 million decrease in Housing Choice Voucher administrative fees
  • $100 million request for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program to cover the incremental subsidy for public housing properties that would otherwise be unable to covert to Section 8 assistance
  • Proposed elimination of the unit cap for RAD conversions and September 30, 2020 deadline for RAD application submissions
  • In addition to the elimination of the Capital Fund, $1.7 billion in reductions to the Public Housing Operating Fund
  • $75 million request for the Family Self-Sufficiency program (same as 2017 enacted level)
  • $10 million request for the Jobs Plus Initiative (a $5 million decrease from the 2018 Senate recommendation)
  • Maintained funding levels for lead-based paint mitigation efforts
  • Unspecified funding request to evaluate and improve the EnVision Centers recently launched by Secretary Carson
  • $20 million increase to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) operations (although a new fee would be imposed on FHA lenders)
  • Requirement that non-disabled persons receiving HUD assistance contribute more than 30% of their adjusted income to their housing costs

Other housing and community development components of this budget include an elimination of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund grant and direct loan program, $1.8 billion request for veteran’s homelessness programs, and a funding increase for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) single family housing guaranteed loan program. A full copy of the budget proposal and related materials are available at be www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget.

Remember that Congress is responsible for passing the budget; this is just a proposal. It remains to be seen if Congress will adopt the President’s proposal. We will continue to provide updates the budget throughout the appropriations process.

 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) has proposed new single-family and multifamily housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (collectively, the “GSEs”) for 2018-2020.

For single-family housing, the proposed goals would require that the percentage of overall qualified single-family mortgage purchases for the GSEs be as follows: the Low-Income Home Purchase Goal would be 24%; the Very Low-Income Home Purchase Goal would be 6%; the Low-Income Areas Home Purchase Subgoal would be 15%; and the Low-Income Refinance Goal would be 21%. To meet these single-family housing goals, the single-family mortgages purchased must meet or exceed the benchmark level or the market level for that year.

For multifamily housing, the proposed goals would require that the GSEs purchase mortgages for multifamily properties (multifamily is defined as properties with five or more units) as follows: the Low-Income Goal would be 315,000 units; the Very Low-Income Goal would be 60,000 units; and the Low-Income Small Multifamily Subgoal would be 10,000 units. To meet these multifamily goals, the GSEs must meet these benchmarks outlined by FHFA.

FHFA’s website provides more details on the proposed goals, the timeline for submission of comments and a link to the Federal Register notice.  Comments are due September 5, 2017.

Last week, Ballard Spahr in conjunction with CSG Advisors hosted its 7th Annual Western Housing Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The Conference brought together a wide range of public and private housing professionals facilitating a dynamic conversation on current developments in government-assisted housing.

The Conference opened with a “Washington Update” – a discussion on housing policy under the Trump Administration. Panelists Emily Cadik, Director of Public Policy at Enterprise Community Partners, and Peter Lawrence, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at Novogradac & Company LLP, brought extensive insight into the political priorities driving forthcoming changes to government-assisted housing programs.

Significant takeaways from the discussion included:

  • The concern over a predicted decrease in HUD’s budget by $6 million, as outlined by the Washington Post on March 8th. Since the panel occurred, the Trump administration’s budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018 budget was released. Housing Plus posted a blog providing an overview of the budget blueprint on March 16, 2017.
  • The elimination of one or more of the tax credit programs, private activity bonds and/or the reduction of the corporate tax rate through tax reform will have significant impacts on the availability of equity financing needed to at least sustain affordable housing development at its current levels.
  • An infrastructure bill that includes housing may be an opportunity to meet any deficits created by HUD budget cuts to the Public Housing Capital Fund and Community Development Block Grant programs.
  • The spending caps under the existing Budget Control Act also pose a threat to government-assisted housing programs, especially in light of the proposed increases in defense spending and the resulting offsets that would be needed from non-defense discretionary spending.
  • Stakeholders should continue to invite legislators and members of Congress to ribbon cuttings and site visits in their districts. These visits are critical in gaining Congressional support for government-assisted housing programs.

The second session of the Conference focused on lessons learned from implementing the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. Nicole Ferreira, Vice President for Development at the New York City Housing Authority, and Jenny Scanlin, Director of Development at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, each provided a case study from which they described the benefits and limitations of the program and the financial structures making each deal work. Beverly Rudman, Director of the Closing/Post Closing Department in HUD’s Office of Recapitalization, provided an update on the program and described particular challenges facing her office, which oversees the RAD program. The panel highlighted the following as effective tools for successfully underwriting a RAD deal and securing community and tenant buy-in: (1) Tenant Protection Vouchers, (2) the demolition and disposition process under Section 18 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, (3) seller take back financing from the Housing Authority and (4) federal and local redevelopment grants.

Panelists Tom Capp, Chief Operating Officer of Gorman & Company, C.J. Eisenbarth Hager, Director of Healthy Community Polices at Vitalyst Health Foundation, and Keon Montgomery, Housing Manager for the City of Phoenix Housing Department, then provided a local perspective on how private/public partnerships can be used to create sustaining change in communities. The panel emphasized the use of health studies in the predevelopment process to generate academic research on the specific needs of the impacted community and solicit funding from public and private partners to address those needs.

The last panel focused on the changes in the affordable housing finance market. Monty Childs, Director of Loan Origination and Structuring at Freddie Mac, John Ducey, Manager of Multifamily Affordable Housing-Credit at Fannie Mae, Sarah Garland, Senior Vice President at PNC Bank, Catalina Velma, Vice President of Public Housing at the National Equity Fund, and Cody Wilson, Director at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, each provided a unique perspective on the impact of recent and prospective economic changes (e.g. tax reform, HUD budget cuts and rises in interest rates) on the equity, bond and lending markets, as well as the increased challenge in financing small and rural projects. The panel also discussed financing tools like Tax-Exempt Loans (Freddie Mac), Reduced Occupancy Affordable Rehab (ROAR) Execution (Fannie Mae) and FHA 221(d)(4) Loans (HUD), which have been found to address some of the challenges faced in the market.

A copy of the conference materials can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding the information above, or want more information on how to register for next year’s conference, please contact Jennifer Boehm at boehmj@ballarspahr.com.

Ballard Spahr is committed to facilitating and leading the conversation within the affordable housing community, which makes us thrilled to announce our Eleventh Annual National Housing Conference in Washington, D.C., from November 3 to 4. This two-day, complimentary event features engaging discussions, panel presentations, special insights, and networking opportunities with the key influences and power players of the affordable housing industry.

Day one is our Housing Authority Summit. Housing authority executives will join us to discuss the most critical issues and challenges they face and explore solutions to help push your housing authority into the future. Panels and roundtables will cover various topics, including property tax exemptions, strategic relationship development, financing strategies, fair housing, and RAD transactions. Registration for the Summit is limited to those in leadership roles at housing authorities; however we will curate blog content around the pertinent matters that will be covered. If you would like additional information on attending the Summit, please contact Jennifer Boehm.

Day two will feature our National Housing Symposium, an open event where our high-powered lineup of presenters will explore today’s housing market and look into the future, now that post-recession demand is driving exciting programs and initiatives. In addition to the popular Heard on the Hill discussion, panels will discuss the latest in RAD projects, fair housing problems, demographic trends, Year 15 issues, and multifamily housing bonds. Registration is free, and our detailed program description is available.

We are excited to provide an informative and collaborative forum for dialogue, exploration, and networking within an industry about which we feel so passionate. Though we will certainly blog about conference updates and insights, we hope you will join us in person!

On May 17, 2016, HUD published a notice in the Federal Register to announce the issuance of the “Processing Guide for Previous Participation Reviews of Prospective Multifamily Housing and Healthcare Programs’ Participants” (the “Processing Guide”). A copy of the Processing Guide can be accessed here.

HUD proposes that the Processing Guide be used to supplement the proposed rule published in August that announced changes to regulations at 24 CFR Part 200, Subpart H, which govern the previous participation review process (the “Proposed Rule”). HUD reports that commenters expressed concern that the Proposed Rule was overly broad, which could further complicate the current process. In response to those comments, HUD proposes that the Processing Guide be used to supplement the Proposed Rule with specific information on review procedures, including, for the first time, detailed information on how “flags” are to be handled.

The Processing Guide is subject to a 30-day comment period ending June 16, 2016.

In addition to feedback on the Processing Guide, HUD also solicits comments on the following topics:

  1. HUD intends to revise 24 CFR 200.210 to state that the regulations are to be supplemented by the Processing Guide and that significant changes to the Proposed Guide will be subject to a 30-day notice and comment period.
  2. HUD also intends to add a definition of “Risk” to the Proposed Rule. HUD did not provide an actual definition, but states that the definition would clarify that the FHA Commissioner must determine whether the Controlling Participant (as defined in the Proposed Rule) could be expected to participate in the Covered Project (as defined in the Proposed Rule) in a manner consistent with furthering the HUD’s purpose of supporting and providing decent, safe and affordable housing for the public.

We at Housing Plus are thrilled to announce that Christopher D. Bell has joined the firm’s Real Estate Department and the Housing Group. His housing finance practice, experience with GSEs, and overall industry leadership strengthens a thriving group of attorneys who represent many of the country’s leading housing lenders, borrowers, and investors nationwide.

Before joining Ballard Spahr, Chris practiced at Fannie Mae for more than a decade and became the agency’s lead attorney for affordable housing transactions and for secondary market construction loan participations and syndications. Serving as Associate General Counsel of Housing and Community Development, he advised on various regulatory matters for the agency; provided guidance on complex real estate transactions that included mortgage-backed securities, bond credit enhancement, mezzanine debt, senior housing, and pool purchases; and assisted in the enhancement of Fannie Mae form loan documents, the Delegated Underwriting and Servicing Guide, and other agency products.

While Chris was with Fannie Mae, many of us at Housing Plus have had the pleasure of collaborating with him and coming to know him as an industry dynamo with deep practical knowledge and transactions experience that benefits lenders and borrowers. Although we have always viewed him as a colleague, it is truly exciting to now see him as part of our housing team.

StopwatchFor efficient closing of RAD transactions by December 31, 2015, public housing authorities and developers should remain mindful of the Office of Recapitalization’s recently released processing deadlines. Planning ahead and incorporating the following issuance dates into operating schedules will help ensure your projects advance in a timely manner:

  • Upload all required Financing Plan documents no later than September 18, 2015.
    • To avoid delays in the review process, be sure that Financing Plan submissions contain all required documentation.
  •  Receive a RAD Conversion Commitment (“RCC”) no later than November 2, 2015.
    • Submit FHA financing applications by August 1, 2015, to ensure that FHA firm commitments will be ready with the RCC for processing.
  • Submit counter-signed RCC no later than November 9, 2014.
  • Submit complete closing package no later than November 9, 2014.
    • For a HAP effective date of December 1, transactions must close in November.
    • For a HAP effective date of January 1, transactions must close in December.

Considering the expansion of the RAD program, along with the usual bevvy of holidays, the Office of Recapitalization expects to be unprecedentedly busy in the last two months of the calendar year. Plan to avoid late-December closings within project planning milestones.

Housing Plus and Ballard Spahr’s RAD Team would be happy to address any questions or comments regarding RAD transaction closings and the schedule outlined above.

 

From May 20-22, a handful of our bloggers will speak at the ABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law in Washington, D.C. – an annual meeting that brings together pertinent developments, resources, strategies, and insights within the affordable housing and community development law community.

Molly R. Bryson, one of the Conference Planning Chairs, will moderate the Washington Update on Housing and Tax Related Issues — a panel of industry leaders discussing the latest developments in housing and tax credit reform.

Amy M. McClain will moderate the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) session, which explores the need-to-know financial and legal considerations for the RAD conversion process. The panel of HUD and other industry leaders will review relevant HUD guidance impacting RAD implementation, and add key perspectives to RAD as means to enhance the long-term financial stability of a housing authority’s affordable housing stock.

Scott W. Cockerham will participate in Numbers for Lawyers: Analyzing and Understanding Financial Projections and the Concepts Behind Them, a workshop that discusses financial projections for tax credit transactions as they relate to both investors and developers.

Amy M. Glassman will speak on an array of Fair Housing laws as part of the panel “What Does the Lawyer Representing HUD/FHA Multifamily Developers, Owners and Managers Need to Know About Fair Housing?”. The discussion will cover how Fair Housing laws apply to the design, construction, and demolition/disposition of multifamily housing properties, as well as how the laws affect housing for the elderly and other supportive services.

The full program of the ABA Forum is available, and we look forward to further sharing our insights.

Flag CapitolWould private developers build affordable housing if there were no government subsidies? Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) and his colleagues explored that question and other topics during a House Financial Service Subcommittee hearing held last Thursday on private sector participation in affordable housing programs. The hearing covered a wide range of housing programs that help leverage private resources including HUD programs, such as the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), Housing Choice Vouchers, and Public Housing, particularly the innovative Moving to Work program. Other government incentive programs that support affordable housing development, notably the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, were also the discussed.

The panel of witnesses, including Adrianne Todman, Executive Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority, Brad Fennell of William C. Smith Company and Company, ‎Jim Evans of Quadel Consulting and Shelia Crowley of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, all responded to Rep. Capuano’s question with a resounding “no”. The witnesses clearly agreed that without some level of government investment, we would not have an available supply of decent housing for people of modest means. This begs another question: why has Congress continued to slash housing budgets year after year when the effect is to reduce the ability to leverage needed private funds?

All of the panelists echoed the ever growing need for affordable housing, as evidenced by countless studies. There was interest expressed by all in the RAD program as a way to leverage more private capital investment in public housing, using both FHA and the low income housing tax credit. Many of the Republican members of the Subcommittee indicated their support for the Moving to Work (“MTW”) program which enables public housing authorities to have more flexible program requirements which enable them to better partner with private entities to address local housing needs in a cost effective manner. While most of the panelists pointed to the success of MTW, even long time critic, Ms. Crowley, stated that she has seen that the ability to use funds fungibly, which is the center of the MTW idea, is important to helping public housing adapt more to the private market.

The one thing that was clear from the discussion: Congress is very interested in finding new ways for the private sector to play a larger role in providing the resources – both in terms of capital and private sector business models – to incentivize affordable housing investments. We have not heard the last of this topic . . . Legislation to follow?