HousingPolicy.org Forum

Stimulus resources for affordable housing preservation/Weatherization Assistance Program

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the Economic Recovery Act. Below are details on resources provided for affordable housing preservation in the act, including:

• $2 billion to fully fund project-based Section 8 contracts;
• $250 million to repair and green HUD assisted affordable multifamily housing;
• $4 billion to repair existing public housing; and
• significant new resources to help fund stalled tax credit projects across the U.S.

Section 8 Funding. Securing full funding for Section 8 contracts represents a significant victory for the affordable housing industry and for low income families who depend on this essential housing resource. For years, the project-based Section 8 program was chronically underfunded. Instead of requesting full funding for the program, HUD chose to enter into short term contracts of less than a year with Section 8 property owners. These short term contracts significantly increased the perception that HUD might not continue to meet its commitment to property owners and, in turn, made it more difficult for owners to seek refinancing opportunities. The $2 billion included in this bill restores much needed funding to the program.

Greening HUD Housing. The bill provides $250 million for grants or loans for energy retrofits and green investments. Owners must agree to extend affordability by at least 15 years in exchange for funding. The program will be administered by HUD's Office of Affordable Housing Preservation. Funds must be expended within two years.

Public Housing. The bill also provides $4 billion to preserve and improve public housing. Up to $1 billion of this amount is to be made available by competition for priority investments, including leveraging private financing for renovations and energy conservation retrofit investments.

The investments in greening HUD assisted and public housing are consistent with HUD's intention to create an "Office of Sustainability" and with HUD's new emphasis on making the connection between energy consumption, HUD expenditures on utilities, and making homes more livable for those who call it home.

Stalled Tax Credit Projects. Finally, the bill provides $2.25 billion for "gap filler" to state housing finance agencies through the HOME program. Separately, Congress enacted a "9% tax credit exchange" program whereby state housing credit allocation agencies will "exchange" a portion of their 9% credits to the Treasury for approximately $.85 per credit. We estimate that this new program will generate at least $3 billion to help move stalled low income housing tax credit projects. We anticipate that these funds, to be allocated by the state housing finance agencies, will help preserve and improve tens of thousands of existing affordable apartments.

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Replies to This Discussion

Does anyone have any specifics on the Greening HUD Housing - When will rules be available, application deadlines, availability of funds? We are refinancing and rehabbing a 202 and up against limits on debt but have not yet covered our desired scope of work. This Greening money would be ideal for our project, just not sure we can wait for it.
We know that the Office of Affordable Housing Preservation is expected to release the details of how to apply in mid April and no later than April 17. We also know that HUD is conducting training for staff and Participating Administrative Entities (PAEs) in early April.

We also expect guidance from HUD and DOE by mid-April on increasing the use of weatherization funds in HUD assisted housing.
Ed: In addition to the Greening HUD Housing Funds, ARRA included $5 billion for DOE's home weatherization program. My agency administers the weatherization funds for City of Seattle, and we spend about 2/3 of our funds on multifamily Wz, including public housing and nonprofit-owned buildings. You might figure out who the weatherization administrator is in your area and see if they might provide funds for your 202 project---they are up against a time deadline to spend more than double their normal allocation.
Do you mind sharing details about multi-family projects that weatherization funds have been spent on in Seattle? We'd like to use these projects as examples for state agencies that have historically focused weatherization funds on single family dwellings.
Here's a NY example of a multifamily preservation project leveraging both State Energy $ and weatherization in a HUD assisted project with tax credits.
Attachments:
Bill: Hi. It's Michael B. I had heard that State of Washington did not prioritize use of weatherization funding for privately owned, federally assisted, affordable, m/f housing. I don't have details, but was wondering if this is the case? If so, why? I assume that Sec. Chu and Donovan's interest in making all pb Sec. 8 properties automatically eligible for DOE weatherization $ will have an impact on state deployment of weatherization funds...
We are a non-profit developer and property management company with a portolio of HUD and tax credit properties. We are also the Weatherization Agency for three counties in PA. To date, we have been discouraged from assisting multi-family properties in our service are, although they are not technically prohibited. We do have a priority waiting system and it is hard for an entire building to reach the top of the list.

We have just been approached by AIMCO with a request to weatherize one of their senior HUD buildings. "DOE and HUD are setting up a system so that residents of HUD assisted housing will automatically qualify for DOE weatherization. That agreement may be announced this week." This quote is directly from an AIMCO.

We are seeking to learn more details. We also hope that tax credit properties will be included but have not heard of any movement on this front.
HUD today released guidance on the HUD green retrofit program. Applications for a Green Retrofit Grant or Green Retrofit Loan will be accepted on a first come, first served basis, beginning on June 15, 2009.

The guidance can be found here:

http://portal.hud.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/RECOVERY/PROGRAMS/GREEN_...
More info is also available via a 6-10-09 webcast by HUD. Find it by visiting www.hud.gov/recovery and clicking on 'Watch Current Webcasts' or - after June 12 - visiting http://www.hud.gov/webcasts/recovery/greenretrofitprogram.cfm.
The first round of awards has been announced - visit this thread in the energy-efficiency section of the Forum for more information.
NHT has created a stimulus webpage with updated information on implementation of ARRA’s housing and energy provisions. Included are specific recommendations for changes to state policies that would lead to the weatherization of more multifamily homes. Visit http://www.nhtinc.org/Economic_Recovery.asp.
That's a great resource. Some of the public hearings on states' weatherization plans are still coming up...but very quickly. California's tomorrow (5/1) at 10am. DC, PA, NJ, and Connecticut are all next week. Thanks for putting this together and sharing!

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