Your summer quarterly newsletter is here!

WI-CARH Fall 2020 
In this Issue: 

The passing of a long time WI-CARH Member and Friend - Michael Gruett

MessageMessage from Russell Kaney WI-CARH President

Looking Forward to 2021
In a normal year, we would be promoting our annual conference for the Wisconsin Council for Affordable and Rural Housing.  I don't know about you, but I always look forward to our time together to catch up on news, educate ourselves on latest industry practices, and just relax away from the normal daily grind. 
As we all know, this year is anything but normal.  Starting in March, most gatherings, conferences, really any group meetings, were put on hold, first out of caution and later, in some cases, mandatory restrictions.  That did not mean that life, your business of housing people and your livelihood were not stressed.  We have all had to pivot to accommodate the pandemic.  Unfortunately, the restrictions, voluntary and involuntary as well as individual health concerns are still with us.  As our medical community races toward viable vaccines, we all realize that the protocols in place to maintain a healthy environment around us will be in place for a while.
Life and business does move forward.  With that in mind, WI-CARH has once again engaged with Kevin Martin, Partner at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP to review and update our lease.  This project was taken on by WI-CARH several years ago to ensure that the lease would stand up in court, meeting federal and state requirements.  Also, it alleviates the necessity for each individual owner/management company to hire their own counsel to review and approve a viable lease.  The lease has been completed, reviewed by Rural Development and is available for purchase through our WI-CARH office.  On October 29, Kevin Martin will be our guest on a zoom video conference to review the lease, changes for 2021 as well as answer any of your general real estate and leasing questions.  If you have a very specific issue, please submit the question prior to the webinar to allow Kevin the time to research the options available to you.
Also, on October 27, Focus on Energy will be providing information on great incentives for apartment owners in the state of Wisconsin.  Be sure to sign up for this informative session and learn how you could benefit from their programs.
Later in this newsletter, I am providing a summary of the Rural Development presentations offered at the Wisconsin Association of Housing Authorities (WAHA) conference in September.  WAHA spread out a number of sessions over two days, all held virtually.  Thanks to Donna Huebner and her staff for these offerings.  The immediate news is the changeover of processing and asset management of the Rural Development multi-family portfolio.  As of October 11, Regional Directors have been established for the Production & Preservation Division.  Servicing of existing borrowers and loans are being reassigned which could mean new faces to work with.  See my article for more details.
Finally, our WI-CARH condolences to the Gruett family (A & M Services, Crandon, WI) with the passing of Mike Gruett in September.  Mike was a fixture with his son Jason at WI-CARH conferences and trainings.  Mike had wide interests, led a full and interesting life, and was respected by the clients and residents they housed in northern Wisconsin.   We will miss Mike.  
Russell D. Kaney
President, WI-CARH

 FocusRegister Now for a Free Virtual Meeting with Focus on Energy on Tuesday, October 27  

Insulation Incentives Available for Property Owners 
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 2:00-3:00 pm
Join us for this FREE virtual informational meeting

Focus on Energy empowers the people and businesses of Wisconsin to make smart energy decisions with enduring economic benefits. Since 2001, Wisconsin's energy efficiency and renewable resource program has stayed true to that mission statement. Over the past three years alone, Focus on Energy has helped over 3,500 property owners across Wisconsin reduce their heating bills and improve long-term occupancy rates, while increasing their property value through air sealing, insulation, and HVAC equipment upgrades. At our virtual meeting on Tuesday, October 27 from 2:00-3:00 pm, Focus on Energy staff will share an overview of the resources and financial incentives that are available to multifamily property owners, and will give an in-depth look at the benefits that these updates can bring to your properties, including:
  • Increased tenant retention 
  • Reduced operating expenses
  • Fewer maintenance issues and associated costs
  • Overall improved asset value 
 Focus on Energy staff Adam Wagner and Steve Pipson will describe all offerings available for multifamily buildings and will be available to answer questions after the presentation.

Presented by:

Steve Pipson, Outreach & Technical Advisor, FOCUS ON ENERGY®
Steve is a Building Analyst certified through the Building Performance Institute and a licensed Wisconsin Home Inspector. Having worked as a journeyman carpenter, construction project manager, architectural technician and technical college instructor, Steve brings more than 30 years of residential building expertise to his advisor role with Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program. Steve is passionate about helping building owners attain comfortable, safe residences while also decreasing energy costs. In addition, Steve also works with over 600 real estate professionals across the state to bring more awareness to the many ways' energy-related features can improve quality of life for building occupants.

Adam Wagner, Energy Advisor, Focus on Energy®
Adam has assisted multifamily and commercial property owners implement cost-effective energy efficiency projects for the last five years as a member of Focus on Energy.  Prior relevant experience includes the construction industry and as a home building analyst.
MartinRegister Now for a Free Virtual Meeting on the 2021
WI-CARH Lease Updates and COVID-19 Leasing Issue on Thursday, October 29!

2021 WI-CARH Lease Updates and COVID-19 Leasing Issues
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 2:00-3:00 pm
Join us for this FREE virtual informational meeting

The WI-CARH Lease is available and approved for use at any Rural Development supervised property.  Using this lease for your property will ensure that you are in compliance with Wisconsin Law and RD regulations. 
Join Kevin Martin, Partner from Michael Best & Friedrich LLP to review the 2021 WI-CARH lease.    Kevin will address the following:
  • 2021 WI-CARH lease form updates
  • Hot topics and updates on the horizon
  • Covid-19 leasing issues
  • Q&A
Submit your questions to WI-CARH at 
Presented by:
Kevin Martin, Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
Kevin A. Martin Partner Clients benefit from Kevin's strong background navigating a variety of commercial real estate and real estate finance transactions.
Kevin provides representation in the purchase, sale, and development of a variety of real estate projects, including multifamily housing, manufacturing facilities, and office and real estate spaces. He counsels lenders and borrowers through the full spectrum of real estate financing transactions, such as those involving state and federal historic tax credits, New Market Tax Credits (NMTC), HUD insured financing, and traditional mortgage financing.
Kevin's experience extends to traditional and renewable energy (wind, solar, and biomass) projects, including renewable energy lease negotiation and easements and development matters. He also represents transportation industry clients, including those involved with aviation as well as port authorities, in lease negotiations for airports and hangar leases.
About Michael Best 
Michael Best is a leading law firm, providing a full range of legal services to clients on a global, regional, and local basis. The firm has more than 350 lawyers and technical professionals serving clients in 14 offices across the U.S. in Colorado; Illinois; North Carolina; Texas; Utah; Washington, D.C.; and Wisconsin. Michael Best's areas of practice include: intellectual property; labor and employment relations (including employee benefits); litigation; corporate; government relations, political law and public policy; privacy and cybersecurity; real estate; regulatory; and tax. The firm serves a variety of industries, such as advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, banking & financial services, digital technology, energy, food and beverage, higher education, and life sciences. For more information, visit

Lease WI-CARH 2021 Residential Lease - Orders Now Being Accepted

The WI-CARH Lease is available and approved for use at any Rural    
Development supervised property.  Using this lease for your property will ensure that you are in compliance with Wisconsin law and RD regulations while saving you the expense of hiring a lawyer to do the same thing.  Just like last year, it is available in three formats:
  1. FHA Software Generated Lease - WI-CARH has teamed up with Simply Computer Software to give FHA Software users the access and ability to generate their WI-CARH Residential Lease and Amendments forms within their FHA Software program. Users of this program can generate the lease through the RD 3560-8 Tenant Certification - PRINT options window. All of the applicable project, unit, and tenant information will automatically be inserted.
  2. Stand-alone WI-CARH Lease Generation Program - A link will be sent to you from Simply Computer Software that will allow you to download and install the WI-CARH Lease Generation Program which includes pre-entered property listing information you provided. To produce a lease, just open the program, select the property, enter pertinent tenant information and print.
  3. Paper Lease - A package of 10 leases and 10 amendments will be shipped to you which you will use to hand write all pertinent tenant information on.
To purchase the lease, complete the lease order form and mail it in with your payment to the WI-CARH Office at:  P.O. Box 258098, Madison, WI  53725.

If you have questions regarding the lease or would like more information about it, please attend the free Webinar on Thursday, October 29, as the Attorney, Kevin Martin will be discussing the lease. Register Now to attend this excellent educational opportunity!  

By Russell D. Kaney
Rural Development held three distinct sessions covering multi-family housing (MFH) programs on September 15, 2020.  Due to the pandemic, the sessions were offered virtually via Microsoft Teams Meeting.  I was able to attend the sessions and will provide a summary in this article.
The opening session introduced the much anticipated MFH realignment process which by now, has rolled out across the nation.  This realignment process divides the functions of MFH into three areas, those being Field Operations Division, Production & Preservation Division, and the Asset Management Division.  Former state office personnel have become National office employees and reassignments were still being worked out as of the presentation.  The official roll out of the new divisions is October 11, 2020.  The country is divided into four regions, the Northeast area started with the new format this summer with the other three regions beginning October 11th.   Lauryn Enrico, Director of the Production & Preservation Division briefly explained the functions of each division followed by questions moderated by Donna Huebner.  The Field Operations Division will be the largest group with 360 people at full staffing.  The Production & Preservation Division anticipates having 72 employees and will be responsible for processing applications, underwriting, closing, and providing program support.  These duties apply to both the MFH direct and guaranteed programs.  Finally, the Asset Management Division will have 4 branches and staff at 44 people.  Karissa Stiers has been named the Regional Director, Midwest Region (IA, IL, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI) for the Field Operations Division.
Another session, Donna Huebner led a discussion on current tools for MFH owners or potential owners for RRH 515 properties.  Tax credits have been issued by WHEDA for 5 developments in 2020 and for 4 developments in 2019.  A transfer of property through an assumption of debt was also discussed.  Loans can be assumed at the current appraisal value if the value is less than the debt.  Most transfers of property require a comprehensive needs analysis (CNA) and third-party funding.  The property assessment tool (PAT) is available for downloading which can help with the analysis.  Other funding can come from 515 funding, 538 guaranteed loan program, Preservation Revolving Loan Funds (PRLF), third party loans, grants, and owner funds.  Another common transfer technique is the substitution of the General Partner(s).  This involves the 100% change in membership, but the tax ID remains the same.  The new General Partner can request a reamortization or subordination.  Consent can also be pursued for junior liens.  
 Prepayment of loans and that process was reviewed.  Only properties closed prior to 12/15/1989 are eligible for prepayment.  A property closed after 12/15/1989 can prepay only if the property is deemed to not be needed in the RD portfolio.  Some restrictions on the property can continue and vouchers can be applied for to aid the residents.  
A NOSA (Notice of Solicitation of Applications) for the MPR (MultiFamily Preservation & Revitalization) program is expected to be released October 31 through early November.  As there are 180 MPR approved applications in the pipeline presently, this new NOSA will only apply to properties closed post credit reform, 10/1/1991 and after.  The MPR will be a debt deferral NOSA only, in other words, the current debt could be deferred for up to 20 years with no other incentives available.  The debt deferral only NOSA will be on a first come-first served basis.  
Other tools discussed were the housing finance agencies ability to insert rural set asides in their tax credit QAP's.  State housing credits have also been beneficial to preservation of units.  The Affordable Housing Program (AHP) through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago can also be a resource for
For the final session, Jen Larson, Director of the Asset Management Division, National office staff, weighed in on her duties.  The old policy of Rural Development was preservation at all costs.  This policy has changed to a prioritization of assets.  Assets or properties will be assigned an internal risk rating with five categories which are integral to RD only.  
Donna Huebner wrapped up the day with Wisconsin specific data on the program.  Currently, 328 properties are in the Wisconsin 515 portfolio, 9 farm labor projects exist in Wisconsin.  These projects total 8,073 units with 72% of these (5,810 units) receiving rental assistance.  632 units are vacant (7.8% vacancy).  The average rent is $522/month and the average note rate rent is $649/month.   
Commentary from Russ Kaney:  the RD realignment will be a big change for staff, owners, management agents but hopefully not for the residents.  Going to the regional concept has been discussed for years.  Having dedicated staff doing just one function makes sense for, if nothing else, consistency in underwriting and servicing.  We are promised that no current offices would close, and employees would be retained.  The portfolio across the country including Wisconsin is shrinking.  We all know that this aging portfolio needs help, in the form of funding to rehabilitate and renew this important rural asset.  Let's hope the kinks and issues are resolved quickly with the new format.  We have been fortunate in Wisconsin to have a qualified and dedicated staff in MFH.  Other states have not been so lucky, and many problems of consistency and performance have hindered the program. 

Feel free to bring to WI-CARH's attention any issues that may come up that need to be looked at or addressed.  You probably are not the only one having a particular issue or problem.  As the National staff emphasized during their presentation, communication and open dialogue is the key to making this work.  Now more than ever, decent, safe, and affordable housing is needed for rural residents.  

RegionalRural Development's Announces New Regional Directors for Multifamily Housing Field Operations Division

BROADCAST EMAIL - Regulatory Update

October 5, 2020

Rural Development's Announces New Regional Directors for Multifamily Housing's Field Operations Division

On Friday, Rural Development's (RD) Office Multifamily Housing (MFH) announced that, effective October 11, 2020, Becki Meyer, Byron Waters, Karissa Stiers, and Laurie Warzinski will become the first Regional Directors of MFH's Field Operations Division.

As  you know, the new Field Operations Division was created as part of the recent MFH realignment. As noted in CARH's July 30th Broadcast Email,Ernie Wetherbee is the Director of the Field Operations Division. The announcement also shared the new MFH's organizational chart. Jen Larson will lead the new Asset Management Division, which will also provide support for preservation and affordable housing production, and Lauryn Enrico will head the new Production and Preservation Division.

CARH looks forward to working with all of the new Regional Directors, as well as all state and national office staff, to continue serving those that live, own, manage, develop, and invest in housing administered by RD.
Please contact the CARH national office at or 703-837-9001 should you have questions or concerns.    
WHEDAWHEDA Expands Financing Options for Homebuyers

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority has expanded its single-family financing options to help more Wisconsin residents achieve the dream of homeownership.
The new financing options include loans with increased down payment assistance of up to 6% of a home's purchase price and an expanded number of lenders that may originate WHEDA Advantage FHA loans. Meanwhile, the current shortage of move-in ready homes has increased the utility of WHEDA's Homestyle Renovation loans, which allow borrowers to finance all costs associated with purchase and renovation through a single 30-year, fixed rate mortgage loan.
"For many prospective homebuyers, the lack of savings for a down payment and repairs is a major barrier to homeownership," said Joaquín Altoro, WHEDA CEO. "The expansion of WHEDA's Easy Close down payment assistance loan is part of our strategy to increase homeownership among our diverse communities, large and small, all across Wisconsin. The new down payment option coupled with a WHEDA mortgage can cover up to 105% of a home's purchase price, meaning buyers may need little to no cash at closing. Our Homestyle Renovation loan also encourages homeownership and fosters reinvestment in our neighborhoods with older housing stock." 
Homeownership builds wealth, strengthens communities and in many cases allows homebuyers to save money compared to what they would pay in monthly rent. With interest rates continuing at historic lows, WHEDA's low-cost mortgage and renovation loan options make it possible for more buyers to achieve the benefits of homeownership.
Previously, WHEDA's Easy Close down payment assistance loans capped the maximum loan at 3.5% of a home's purchase price, so the increase to 6% can significantly reduce the amount of cash needed at closing. In addition to the expanded down payment assistance, a change in required lender qualifications from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development means WHEDA Advantage FHA loans will now be available through dozens of additional lenders statewide.
Given the current demand for homes, limited supply of move-in ready properties and need for neighborhood revitalization, the WHEDA Advantage Conventional Homestyle Renovation loan is playing an increasingly important role in creating opportunities for homeownership during COVID-19. The loan allows homebuyers to finance all costs associated with a renovation - including up to six months of mortgage payments if the home cannot be occupied during renovation.
WHEDA's strong credit rating makes these low-cost financing options possible, because WHEDA can issue bonds to generate funding sources at rates below what other lenders can obtain.
WHEDA issued its most recent $100 million revenue bond to support single family borrowers in April to continue advancing economic recovery. In addition to bonds, WHEDA uses other financing tools to make funds continuously available to qualified homebuyers.
While WHEDA is working to help more people realize the dream and benefits of homeownership, the authority continues to provide support to existing homeowners who are struggling due to job or income loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing WHEDA homeowners who are concerned about paying their mortgage should contact one of the authority's service advisers at 800-562-5546 to discuss the options. WHEDA will explore all options to keep people in their homes.
WHEDA mortgages are available through a network of 134 mortgage lending companies, banks and credit unions statewide. More information on WHEDA single family loan products and the Find a WHEDA Lender app can be found  here.
To keep up with information about WHEDA resources, follow us on Facebook
Twitter and LinkedIn and sign up to receive emails here
For more than 45 years, WHEDA has worked to provide low-cost financing for housing and small business development in Wisconsin. Since 1972, WHEDA has financed more than 75,000 affordable rental units, helped more than 133,000 families purchase a home and provided more than 29,000 small business and agricultural loan guarantees. WHEDA is a self-supporting public corporation that receives no tax dollars for its operations. For more information on WHEDA programs, visit or call 800-334-6873.
MichaelMemberThe passing of a long time WI-CARH Member and Friend - Michael Gruett

One of WI-CARH's long time members passed away.  We would like to extend our sympathy to his family and friends.

Obituary for Michael Allen Gruett

Michael Allan Gruett unexpectedly passed away on September 5th, 2020. Mike was born on November 4th, 1951, in Milwaukee, WI, to Donald and Hazel (Lango) Gruett.  

Mike spent 49 wonderful years married to his wife, Allegra (Marshall) Gruett. Together, they made cherished memories traveling and living in many different states and countries. He loved his community, his church, the military, and work, but most of all, he loved his family.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, Joyce and Francis Marshall; and his brother, Don. He shall be missed dearly by his wife; his children, Jason (Molly Belland) and Alyssa (Pete Mansfield), his grandchildren (Augusta, Camilla, Spencer, Madison, and William); his sisters, Jacquie (David) Brittig of Racine, Donna (Dan) Steffen of Greenfield, WI; his sister-in-law Alice (and best buddy, Roland Lundin); his brother-in-law Nelson (Charlotte) Marshall; and his brother-in-law Dale (Edith - deceased) Dzubay; and his cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

After serving nine years active in the Army, Mike chose to move back to Northern Wisconsin in 1979 and loved the sense of community Forest County provided. He retired from the Wisconsin National Guard in 2001, as a Combat Engineer and joined the US Army Ready Reserves. He retired as a Colonel after 34 years of service. He was a veteran of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars and commanded and performed major staff assignments at Company, Battalion and Brigade levels. He was a lifetime member of AMVETS and the American Legion. Mike's education included earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University Wisconsin, Wisconsin Military Academy, United States Army Engineer School, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and War College.

He cared deeply for others and was dedicated to promoting growth and tourism in Forest County. He spent 34 years working and later owning Forest TV & Appliance. He also spent 23 years as the owner of A & M Services. Mike served as the President of the Forest County Chamber of Commerce and the President of the Forest County Tourism Commission. He was also a past Master of the Crandon Masonic Lodge.

Mike, also known as "Poppa," will be remembered as someone who always supported his family and friends, spoke his mind, and was always willing to help others. He loved spending time talking with his loved ones around a campfire at his home on Lake Lucerne (after 30 minutes of chores, of course), and spending time with his grandchildren, reading, boating, and gardening.

In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made to St. Luke's United Methodist Church, the Forest County Chamber of Commerce, Crandon Area Rescue Squad or our local AMVETS, in his honor. The family will have a private graveside service at the Argonne Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be planned for a later date, once it is safe for all of us to be together again.

ResponseCovid-19 Response Information

Please visit our links below to gain the most up-to-date information regarding the impacts of Covid-19 pertaining to affordable housing providers and managers.

CARH - Covid 19 Updates and Information link
USDA - Covid 19 link
Rural Development - Wisconsin - Covid 19 link

DatesMark Your Calendars for 2020 - 2021 Dates

October 27: Zoom Meeting on Focus on Energy at 2:00 pm 

October 28: WI-CARH Board Meeting 

October 29: Zoom Meeting on the WI-CARH Lease at 2:00 pm

May 11, 2021:  WI-CARH Spring Training at the Marriott Madison West, Madison, WI

October 28 & 29, 2021:  23rd Annual WI-CARH Conference & Board Meeting, Wilderness Territory, Wisconsin Dells, WI 
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