March 2022
Success Story: Emerald Valley, Evergreen
Independence and a space of their own. That’s what Emerald Valley residents Brenda Macks and Dorothy Quintanilla say they are enjoying most. Both also enjoy participating in apartment activities led by Rene’ Hendrix, recognized as AHFA’s FY21 Manager of the Year. Below they share their stories.
Welcome New Lenders!
AHFA is pleased to welcome Guaranteed Rate, Inc., and Southwest Funding, LP as participating lenders in the Step Up program.

Guaranteed Rate has offices located in Birmingham and Dothan to serve potential home buyers. You can visit their website at

Southwest Funding has branches located in Birmingham, Dothan, Hoover, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, and Oxford. They can be found online at
Developer Tips for Success: Clarence Ball
This edition of Developer Tips for Success features Clarence Ball. He is the president/CEO of Ball HealthCare Services, Inc. Participation in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and other federal housing programs requires significant individual and team experience/expertise, a tolerance for financial risk, and an ability to obtain major banking and credit relationships. We hope hearing from successful AHFA developers will inspire and educate others who are interested in becoming affordable housing owners/developers or increasing their level of experience.
How long have you worked in the affordable housing industry?
My career in affordable housing began in 1973, while studying to complete a master’s degree in long-term care administration. That was when I first was introduced to various HUD products used to finance senior housing for skilled, custodial, and independent living facilities. After successful completion of the master’s program, I worked as a licensed nursing home administrator for 10 years. I formed Ball HealthCare in 1983, with a mission to go to underserved areas and develop quality services for seniors and special needs population groups. I was able to use the lessons I learned during my fellowship to expand beyond our nursing home footprint into affordable housing. I began applying for affordable housing projects in the late 90s, and in 2003 we opened Cherry Ridge Apartments in Birmingham as our first independent living apartment project. Since then, we have been able to repeat this model in other parts of the state.
What are the key challenges or barriers to participating in this industry?
A key challenge is that the need for quality housing is far greater than the available resources needed to build affordable housing. Thus, the competition is fierce among developers. Moreover, the use of tax credit financing can be complex. The application process alone is expensive, time consuming, and gaining an award is not guaranteed. These are highly specialized programs with their own set of rules, regulations, and tax code. To be competitive, you must have vision, development and operational know-how, capital, and a high tolerance level for risk. It takes experience, a respected track record, and the assembly of a team of highly talented professionals with expertise in different areas to be successful.
What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced along the way that have helped you grow and led to your expertise?
Overcoming failure is the most difficult challenge. Persistence matters. I was not successful in receiving awards until my third application but treated each failure as a learning lesson. Another challenge is assembling and working with the right team. This is one business where success means recognizing your own limitations and the skills of other team members. While one person alone can’t make you successful, a single wrong team member can bring failure. 
What tips would you give others who might be interested in a career in affordable housing development?
People who are interested in participating should establish a track record in development, and particularly, senior housing. They can partner with or work for an experienced tax credit developer. That is what I did after my early disappointments. I set out to find the top developer in the state, partnered up, and together, we have completed 13 affordable housing projects.
Please share any tips to becoming a successful owner and/or developer.
Again, success requires patience, capital, and most of all fielding a winning team of highly talented professionals. Becoming a successful developer doesn’t mean you do it all yourself. You can’t. Before getting into affordable housing, I had substantial experience in developing healthcare facilities. I knew about needs assessments and screening applicants for income because we do that for Medicaid, Medicare, and other government programs. But I needed tax credit expertise to be successful in the affordable housing industry. You have got to have a great team comprised of a strong program specialist, lawyer, architect, engineers, CPA, contractors and bankers, each with a depth of affordable housing knowledge and experience. You want to work with people who are the best at what they do.
What do you see as the greatest benefit of affordable housing?
Affordable housing has been an outreach of Ball HealthCare’s mission of providing quality services and improving lives in underserved areas. The greatest benefit I see is improving the quality of life for low- and moderate-income families who have a legacy of living in substandard conditions. It is tremendously rewarding to see the happiness and excitement on the faces of our tenants when they move in. Many of them will tell you, “I never thought I’d be able to afford a home like this.”
Success Story: Letter from Tim Jacobs, Landlord
"We wanted to tell you how much we appreciate the help and support of your organization during this time of need for so many. During the shutdowns, we found ourselves and our tenants struggling to stay afloat due to the loss of revenue they were incurring. Our tenant was unemployed for sixteen months due to their situation with three small children. They were struggling to survive. We struggled with them and exhausted our savings in order to keep them afloat until they found employment and were able to get back some resemblance of a normal life. We started to look for help to dig out of this when we found ERA Alabama. We were surprised at the ease of applying and how gracious and understanding your employees were during this time. 

Thanks to ERA Alabama, we were able to forgive the rent owed to our tenant, which has allowed them to breathe easy. We were also able to continue being landlords and saving for retirement. So many times, Americans are afraid to look at the programs offered thinking it’s all hype and there will be no help. We are so grateful for everyone who has made this possible."
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Onaje Brooks
Student Spotlight: Onajé Brooks, Alexander City
Meet Onajé Brooks of Cornerstone Apartments in Alexander City:
Onajé Brooks was selected to receive a 2021 resident scholarship awards from the Alabama Affordable Housing Association (AAHA). Brooks is the brother of Paris Morgan, a 2019 AAHA scholarship recipient and previous Student Spotlight honoree.

Brooks is a 2021 graduate of Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City. He is currently attending Huntington College in Montgomery and plays on the Hawks football team.

Career Goals:
Brooks is planning to pursue a career in sports medicine.

Impact of Scholarship:
“When I receive this scholarship, it will help cut some of my costs. While I am obtaining my degree, I would like to be financially set in terms of school.

My mother’s family obligation as a single parent is to take care of both her children. Once I graduate from high school, my mother will have two children entering into college. Therefore, she will try her best to continue to provide for the both of us. Her list of obligations are rent, power, food, clothing, and etc. She will still have to do her best to help and provide for me, even though I will be away at college.

No matter how big or small the amount of a scholarship is, it will be helping me toward my goal. The AAHA scholarship is a great opportunity for me. It also shows that if you work very hard, then you will be rewarded for your hard work.”

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 or 205.758.1158.
Outreach & Education in March
March 1&2 : Single-Family Administrator Carrie Hamaker speaking at the Alabama Bankers Association (ABA) Credit Conference
March 16: Lender training with Fairway Independent Mortgage, Oxford
March 17: Lender training with Caliber Home Loans, Birmingham
March 21: Lender training with CB&S Bank, Birmingham
March 23: Drop-in visit with Direct Mortgage Loans, Mobile
March 23: Realtor Lunch & Learn with ReMax Legacy Group, Mobile, and Clara Cannon of First Federal Mortgage, Mobile
March 30: Realtor Lunch & Learn with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Showcase Properties, Dothan, and Fairway Independent, Dothan
2022 Manager of the Year Nominations Due April 29
Give your top managers the recognition they deserve by nominating them for the annual Manager of the Year award from AHFA. Site and property managers for any development financed with AHFA-administered HOME funds or Housing Credits are eligible. You may nominate more than one manager.

AHFA will review all nominations and select the top nominee. The winner will be announced at the 2022 Alabama Affordable Housing Association (AAHA) conference or virtually in lieu of an in-person event.

Click here for a nomination package:
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If you were previously a Customer CareNet user, you MUST reregister your account with Servicing Digital to keep managing your account online.

Special thanks to Customer Service Representatives Tamekia Lee and Yoanellys Ruiz for participating in this project.
Alabama Housing Finance Authority | Montgomery, Alabama | 334.244.9200 | Email | Website