March 2021
Join Us April 6 for our Spring Virtual Homeownership Forum
We’re excited to announce that next month, on April 6 from 9:30-11:30 a.m., AHFA will host a Spring Virtual Homeownership Forum! We hope to share a wealth of information about the homebuyer market in Alabama with professionals in the mortgage and residential real estate fields. Several speakers will join us:

  • Blake Corder, Corder Real Estate, Broker
  • "Alabama New Construction Outlook"
  • Corder is a partner of The Builders Group, LLC, a residential and light commercial contractor, as well as a partner and broker of Corder Real Estate, Inc., both based out of Tuscaloosa. A member of both the Home Builders Association of Tuscaloosa (HBAT) and the Huntsville Madison County Builders Association, Blake chaired the HBAT’s Investment Property Owners Council, and Membership and Parade of Homes Committees. In 2011, he served as HBAT President. Blake was named the HBAT Builder of the Year in 2014 and received the Carolyn Guidroz Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2016.
  • James Hall, Freddie Mac, Affordable Lending Manager
  • "HFA Advantage Program & Tools for Real Estate Professionals"
  • Hall joined Freddie Mac to promote the HFA Advantage Mortgage program to HFA’s lenders and realtors. Prior to this position, he worked at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJMFA) for 12 years as Assistant Director in the Single Family Division. In that position, Hall was responsible for business development while being an advocate for affordable lending for workforce families and the underserved. Prior to joining NJHMFA, Hall worked in the private mortgage industry for 20 years in various business development and operations positions. 
  • Tom Horn, Appraiser
  • "Choosing Comps Like an Appraiser & Tips for Winning a Bid in a Hot Market"
  • Horn's appraisal career began in 1990 when he was looking for a change from working in the consumer finance field. Currently, he holds the SRA designation from The Appraisal Institute and concentrates in the area of single-family, vacant land, 2-4 family, and condominium appraisals in the central Alabama area. In addition to performing appraisals for first mortgage loans and refinancing, Horn prepares reports for other uses such as estate planning, private mortgage insurance removal (PMI), For Sale By Owner (FSBO) marketing, and insurance valuations.
  • Albert Martinez, Essent Guaranty, Inc., Account Manager, HFA East
  • "Using Mortgage Insurance Creatively"
  • Martinez joined Essent Guaranty, Inc. in 2017 and has been involved in the mortgage lending industry since 1997. Prior to joining Essent, he was with a major nationwide lender where his primary focus was helping low- and moderate-income communities and serving emerging markets. Martinez currently serves on the Leadership Committee of the “National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals” (NAHREP) in South Florida, and is a board member of the housing counseling agency and nonprofit, “Real Estate, Education and Community Housing” (REACH).
  • Stuart Norton, Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE), Data Analytics Coordinator
  • "Alabama Home Sales Data and Analysis"
  • ACRE is housed within the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business. Norton frequently writes and speaks on residential market trends in markets across the state. He creates the Center's residential sales forecasts, manages the production of ACRE's residential market reports, and hosts the Real Estate Matters podcast.  

Our very own Carrie Hamaker, administrator of our Single-Family division, will also join the event to share a bit about AHFA programs and lead a Q&A discussion with our panelists to round out the event.

To register to attend, visit: https://ahfa.zoom.us/j/98632937102?pwd=QUcydDRtdHRFYmxlUjFhclk3cytIQT09. You’ll receive an email back with details of how to log in to the Zoom virtual event on April 6.
Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama Launches March 1
AHFA launched ERA Alabama on schedule March 1, and applicants began the online process of requesting rental and utility expense assistance. On the first day, the system received over 10,000 entries. As of mid-March, there were over 30,000 submissions in varying stages of completion. There are 8,685 fully completed applications by renter households undergoing review for approval. In addition, ERA Alabama has received 2,153 requests for landlord registrations within the system. The registrations will make it easier to confirm renter information and process applications from households in those developments.

On March 12, ERA Alabama initiated its first disbursement for past due and advance to a couple requesting assistance due to loss of employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to be underway with ERA Alabama and are looking forward to helping renters and landlords across the state in need.  

For more information about ERA Alabama and to apply, visit www.eraalabama.com or contact the Call Center at 1-833-620-2434.
Q&A with Celeste Stewart, VP of Operations for Apartment Services and Management, Inc. (ASM)
ASM manages more than 100 properties throughout the state, consisting of over 4,000 HOME, HOME/Tax Credit, Bond/Tax Credit, Tax Credit only, and Rural Development/Tax Credit units. Stewart is also a general and/or limited partner in over 70 tax credit-funded developments.

Q: How did you hear about ERA Alabama?
A: Through AHFA and the Alabama Affordable Housing Association

Q: What is the biggest benefit of the program?
A: The potential benefit for our residents is enormous. Never in my memory have residents of affordable housing faced the additional challenges that they have endured during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our residents, with the least disposable income, have had to make tough choices regarding paying their rent versus buying food, medicine, and many basic necessities of life. Our property managers have discussed these difficult choices with our residents throughout this pandemic, and it is heartbreaking! ERA will provide the opportunity to residents that have made these tough financial choices during this past year, and we are hopeful we can get everyone registered through the ERA portal, which is a monumental task with over 4,000 residents in our portfolio. However, we are committed to assist in any way possible.

Q: What are some challenges surrounding ERA Alabama?
A: Other than the volume of residents, we have had a few challenges with the ERA software portal, which is normal as this program is new to everyone. I have called the ERA Call Center on several occasions, and they have been very helpful. Communication challenges also exist with our elderly population as well as our tenants with physical or mental disabilities, but due to our property managers’ dedication to their residents, we are making progress.

Q: How are you getting the word out to your residents about ERA Alabama?
A: Obviously, communication has been key during this process. We have been in constant contact with our property managers from the onset of hearing of the ERA program. We have had many phone calls and conference calls to get the information out to our managers so that they could inform our residents. We have also sent several flyers and letters to our residents to keep them informed. Something that has been helpful is collecting contact information of residents who are interested so we may register their households and then email them to submit their applications. We also offer assistance to any residents who need help with their application.

Q: How many residents have applied for the program?
A: For our portfolio, I am estimating we have received 1,200 resident forms returned to our property managers, who scan and email them to our home office. We have several team members in-house that are entering this information into the ERA portal.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: We are excited about this opportunity for our residents and our properties. With the CDC Eviction Moratorium extended again recently, this assistance will be beneficial to our residents as well as our properties, many of which are operating on reduced revenue for the past 13 months. We are seeing an 8-10% drop in rent revenue portfolio-wide, and expenses are the same or higher than pre-COVID-19 numbers. I encourage ALL owners and management agents to complete both the landlord and tenant invite portions of the ERA program, as this opportunity may never occur again. 
Student Spotlight: Kaylan Daniels, Quail Meadows, Demopolis
Meet Kaylan Daniels of Demopolis:
Kaylan Daniels was selected to receive a 2020 resident scholarship award from the Alabama Affordable Housing Association (AAHA).

Education:
Daniels is a 2020 graduate of Demopolis High School currently attending Troy University. The former high school football player is pursuing a degree in business management with a minor in graphic design. Daniels hopes to eventually head a graphic design agency.

Career Goals:
“My greatest passion is graphic designing,” wrote Daniels in his scholarship application. “I personally feel that being able to express myself creatively through the use of technology is fun and exciting. I envision one day being the CEO of a graphic studio and having the opportunity to employ underprivileged African American males like myself.”

Impact of Scholarship:
Daniels said, “I am a product of a single-parent home. Although statistics say that these children are two times more likely to drop out of school, I beat the odds. I knew at an early age that I wanted to be successful, because I have seen my mother struggle to make ends meet for all of my life. Financial constraints are the main effect of growing up in a single-parent home. This scholarship will assist me in pursuing a college degree.”

Living in Affordable Housing:
“Affordable housing has help to reduce the frequency of disruptive moves in my household,” said Daniels. “My mom and I have been staying in the same apartment complex and the same apartment since I was three years old. Living in affordable housing gave me a sense of hope and security. Coming home was my safe haven from the cares and troubles that I faced at school and on the field. Living in affordable housing made it possible for my mother to provide me with my basic needs. It was always hard for my mom to keep up with other parents, but she still managed to get me everything I wanted and more. Even though I was too young to understand, I could feel the stress and the struggles my mom faced daily. Affordable housing has helped to improve the quality of my life.”

In 2000, the Alabama Affordable Housing Association (AAHA) created an education scholarship program for residents of member-owned apartment properties in Alabama. The scholarship funds are donated by the owners, contractors, architects, accountants, property management companies, investors, lenders, developers, and various vendors that make up AAHA’s membership as well as other non-member individuals. Since its inception, the AAHA resident scholarship fund has awarded more than $750,000 in college and vocational scholarships. 

For more information about the resident scholarship program, please contact Arrice Faught, AAHA’s executive director, at arrice@theaaha.org or 205.758.1158.     
Success Story: Watson Family, Angela Meadows, Albertville
Jennifer Watson has been a resident at Angela Meadows in Albertville for the past five years. She fled an abusive relationship and moved in with her parents, who live in a house near the development. Over the years, they became friends with some of the tenants, past and present, and Jennifer began to get to know her neighbors as well. One day when she was out walking, she decided to stop in and talk with the manager, and the next thing she knew, she was filling out a lease to move in to the 48-unit development funded by more than $287,000 in Housing Credits administered by AHFA.

Jennifer, who works as a special needs aide in the local school system, has a son who is 14 years old. Landon was born with a rare medical condition that required around the clock care. In addition, he was going to the local doctor once a week and to doctors in Birmingham every two weeks. Jennifer says, “My job is less than a mile from the development. Living at Angela Meadows helped me to be the caregiver I needed to be for my son, as well as still being able to enjoy and keep my job in the special needs area.”

For the past three years, Landon has been thriving. He is part of the Albertville High School band and enjoys many of the development’s amenities and features, including a wooded area behind the development. Jennifer says, “We go there to escape and breathe in a bit of nature. We also enjoy taking walks around the property and taking advantage of the pool in the hot summer temperatures.

In the past year, Jennifer recently got married to Brandon Watson, who works as a general contractor. She says, “Our journey was a real fairytale, and Landon and I are both thankful that Brandon came into our life and has filled a void that we did not even realize was missing. Landon fell in love with Brandon just as much as I did, and he calls him Dad.”

Jennifer says they are a music loving family and also love to be outside. They enjoy living near Guntersville Stake Park and a walking trail near the Lake Guntersville. She shares, “We take advantage of hiking, fishing, eagle watching, biking, having picnics and playing bocce ball.” 

Jennifer says, “The development has been amazing for us. They offer community meals during the holidays, and the property manager does an outstanding job with games and entertainment. I am very thankful for the opportunity to live here. It gave me and my child our own space and a safe place to live, and at the same time, an opportunity to continue working and providing for a child that needed special medical attention. We have been very fortunate to live at Angela Meadows.”
2021 Manager of the Year Nominations Due April 30
Give your top managers the recognition they deserve by nominating them for AHFA's annual Manager of the Year award. Site and property managers for any development financed with AHFA-administered HOME funds or Housing Credits are eligible.

Nominations are due by April 30. Click here for a nomination package:
Hardest Hit Alabama Closes Application Portal in Anticipation of Wind Down
After reopening last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hardest Hit Alabama program was closed on Friday, March 12 as we begin preparing again for wind down. We anticipate final records will be sent to servicers by April 30, 2021.

If you have any questions about this information, please email hhalabamainquiry@hardesthitalabama.com.

Thank you to all of our participating servicers for helping us save more than 8,200 Alabama households from foreclosure.
Alabama Housing Finance Authority | Montgomery, Alabama | 334.244.9200 | Email | Website