WI-CARH Winter 2021
Council for Affordable & Rural Housing (CARH) Mid-Year Meeting
By: Russell Kaney
CARH held their mid-year meeting on January 25-26 in a virtual format. Originally scheduled to take place in Charleston, South Carolina, the meeting was realigned to take into account continued restrictions on gatherings and protocols due to COVID-19 concerns. This was the second national CARH meeting held in a virtual format, the annual meeting from June 2020 in Washington DC had a similar format.
The first day of the conference is reserved for break out committees to discuss various and pertinent topics of importance to members. These included a State Affiliated Association meeting, Lenders Committee, Best Practices & Education Committee, Management Committee, Development & Owners Committee and finally a Board of Directors meeting. Each committee meeting brings recommendations to the Board to pursue with the appropriate regulators or staff. Here are highlights of each session:
State Affiliated Associations
This session checks in with representatives from 20+ state affiliates on what they are doing for training/educational sessions, conferences, speakers, and issues raised within their states. Generally, every state switched to a virtual format for their trainings and several had cancellations of their annual conferences due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic. Most comments reflect a big desire to return to in-person events once that is appropriate.
This committee delves into issues with the 538 RD lending program as well as HUD and FHA lending issues. The processing of 538 guaranteed loans goes through the same people assigned to other transactions on the RRH 515 platform. So far, the realignment has not been smooth, staff has been frustrated mainly due to communication issues. The processing phase of the three-phase approach (processing, underwriting, closing) has taken the most time. The servicing side of 538 loans has gone well. The Lenders Committee has pushed for several issues for some time. A push to reduce the guarantee fees would make the loans more attractive to borrowers. Currently the annual guarantee fee is 50 basis points, and the push is to reduce the fee to 25 basis points. Also, the upfront fee for the guarantee is 90 basis points, again, asking for a reduction. The 538 program is budget neutral and currently has a guarantee authority of $230 million per year. Last fiscal year, the program came close to the authorized limit. A request to raise the budget authority is on the table. Approximately 95% of 538 loans (fixed interest rate, 40-year amortization) are paired with Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC's). Ginnie Mae is the primary purchaser of the guarantee on the secondary market. As they require a loan not to exceed 70% of loan to cost, the equity provided by tax credits makes this an ideal debt product. In order to finance more "workforce housing" a loan to cost ratio of 90% is recommended.
Currently, refinancing of other debt including 538 debt with high interest rates is not allowed, this change would also be beneficial to housing providers. One lender with a 400-loan portfolio reported only one forbearance needed to be issued/processed due to the pandemic.
Best Practices/Educational Committee
Two issues dominated the session, an insurance representative advised owners/managers to notify their insurance companies if an employee tests positive for COVID. This is an "information only" message but helps with any workmen's compensation claims. Sexual abuse/harassment claims are on the rise nationwide. Best practice is to review the employee handbook, update the sections that need detail in these areas, request all employees read and possess a copy and acknowledge, in writing, they have received and read the handbook.
Add on fees for management companies were discussed. A $2.00 - $5.00 add on fee if a project has multiple programs funding it (more paperwork, more compliance) has been approved but the certifications are not automatically including the fee. Several people have had to hand write the increase to receive it. A discussion was held on the definition of a remote location as an additional fee can be collected. It appears that the definitions varied widely from state to state and the new realignment leadership is being asked to formalize a universal definition. Most management companies continue to have offices closed, most employees working remotely. Community rooms are also generally closed. One management company recommended the use of UVC lighting to disinfect space.
The realignment of the multi-family housing staffing has generally gotten poor remarks from owners/developers in the middle of processing, underwriting, or closing loans. Poor communication, slow responses, no responses, feeling lost, were some of the comments received. Information for the Preliminary Assessment Tool (PAT) in underwriting has become more difficult to obtain.
Several owners have had problems with getting budgets approved in a timely manner. Forbearance on debt was not recommended because rental assistance is suspended during the forbearance. A request to pursue a rural basis boost for LIHTC was mentioned as this incentive went away with the 4% tax credit fix.
The second day of the mid-year meeting was devoted to hearing from the regulators, housing consultants and policy experts on the state of housing.
Robert Iger from the HUD office in Washington DC commented on their budget authority and increases in rental assistance. Other topics included the REAC comment period, COVID Supplemental Payments (202's.811's), RAD conversions, Small Building Risk Share program and other topics. Refinancing with FHA insured loans remains a big activity for HUD due to interest rates. They currently have 159 loans in default and 71 in foreclosure. They are looking to increase staff in the loan platforms.
Nancie-Ann Bodell reviewed the nominees for the USDA high level positions. Tom Vilsack of Iowa is being nominated for Secretary of Agriculture. He served 8 years in the same position in the Obama administration. Justin Maxson has been nominated for Under Secretary for Rural Development. His background has been in the rural philanthropic area, most recently, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. (Full bio available at this link:
$1.4 billion was approved in the 2021 budget for rental assistance, enough in RD's view to cover the fiscal year. $40 million is available for rural housing vouchers, a large increase but being aware that vouchers are available for residents in RRH 515 complexes that have prepaid their loans and are leaving the program. $230 million in guaranteed budget authority for the 538 program is available and $40 million is appropriated for the MPR program. This will not address the 185 properties in the queue for MPR relief. These 185 properties represent a 2-3 year wait for funding.
The realignment went into effect October 11, 2020. A full organizational chart is available. (Click here for the organizational chart.) All positions have not been filled. The risk rating tool for properties has been implemented, all properties have been rated one time and fall into critical, troubled, watch list or performing. (Click here for chart.) There are 4 Troubled Asset Teams around the nation. In response to questions about slowness and poor communication, her suggestion is to call the team lead, if not responsive, call the Regional Director, if not responsive, call Ernie Wetherbee, Director, Field Operations Division. For the Production and Preservation Division, follow the organizational chart but Lauryn Enrico is the backstop if no responses. A stakeholder meeting will be held February 18th to discuss guarantee fees and other topics for the 538 program.
Several speakers addressed the changes coming from the end of year 2020 relief funding and 2021 appropriations. The credit rate being fixed at 4.0% was a major win for the affordable housing industry. It will provide additional equity for bond transactions. Extensions for rent moratoriums, carryover and placed in service deadlines were discussed. Guidance on income averaging was also covered.
RD Portfolio Analysis
Lauryn Enrico reviewed the Production and Preservation efforts. 40 transactions were closed in December 2020. She is interested in finding other capital for 515 preservation transactions. Discussions continue with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in this area. There will be a technical assistance NOSA issued in 2021 for preservation efforts and the RRH 514/516 Farm Labor Housing NOSA should be issued in February. A deferral only NOSA for MPR will also be issued soon but only loans closed in October 1991 and sooner will qualify.
The CARH meetings were filled with information on existing programs, proposals, and remedies to housing barriers. The feedback and comments are particularly important as Rural Development transitions to their realigned organizational structure. Please inform WI-CARH with any issues you may be having with the new structure. We are here to help find answers.
Multifamily Housing Organizational Structure and Contact Information
On October 11, 2020, Rural Development's Office of Multifamily Housing structural realignment was finalized which, in some cases, redistributed the existing portfolio to a servicing Specialist within our new Field Operations Division. Nancie-Ann Bodell, Deputy Administrator for MFH, along with her leadership team recorded the following video providing an overview of the new MFH Organizational Structure. As time permits, you can view the video here: https://youtu.be/w39_ghxoOmM
If you are looking for the servicing Specialist for a specific property, you will find a complete and sortable list here:
If you need additional information or have any questions, please contact your servicing specialist, as identified in the above sortable list, or contact the applicable Regional Director, as follows:
The four regions and the contact information for each Regional Director follows:
Western Region: Becki Meyer, Regional Director
(AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY)
Southern Region: Byron Waters, Regional Director,
(AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, PR, SC, TN, TX, VI)
Midwest Region: Karissa Stiers, Regional Director,
(IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)
Northeast Region: Laurie Warzinski, Regional Director,
(CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV)
For additional information and contacts, please find the following documents attached:
Rural Development Forum on Agency's Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Annual Guarantee Fees - Register by February 12, 2021
Guarantee Fee Forum
Rural Development is announcing a forum to be held on February 18, 2021, to discuss the upcoming change to the current structure of the Agency's Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program's Initial and Annual Guarantee fees. The Agency recently amended 7 CFR 3565 §3565.53 to give the Agency the flexibility to make changes to the fees. The Agency is seeking input from current Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program lenders and borrowers. Participants are encouraged to provide input on the impact the change to the fee structure will have on the overall program.
The logistics outlined below, and the following information will help us to manage the call and enhance its value. Due to the sensitivity of the discussion, participants must email Tammy Daniels, firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the forum by 5:00pm (EST) on Friday, February 12, 2021. Upon receipt of your registration request, you will be emailed the link to gain access to the forum. The Agency will be using the Microsoft Teams platform to conduct the forum.
Section 538 GRRHP Fees
Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm (Eastern)
Duration: 120 minutes
For program information...
Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions
February 1, 2021
Multifamily Housing Partners,
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to providing quality housing to tenants over the past month. We wanted to bring to your attention that the CDC extended their notice on a Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions, published in the Federal Register on September 4, 2020, and authorized under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 264 and 42 CFR 70.2. The notice is now extended through March 31, 2021.
This letter is a reminder of the CDC's requirements and its application on Rural Development Multifamily Housing programs. We strongly encourage you to read CDC notice in its entirety to fully understand CDC's requirements. This halt in residential evictions applies to tenants in Rural Development MFH properties who certify to their landlord that they meet the following CDC criteria:
- All adults in the household have attempted to obtain any available government assistance for rent.
- The household meets income limits of $99,000 per individual or $198,000 per couple.
- The household is unable to pay full rent due to a loss in household income or extraordinary medical expenses.
- Timely partial payments have been attempted.
- Eviction would likely make the household homeless or force them into an unsafe shared living arrangement.
If properties are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and tenant inability to pay, please reach out to your assigned servicing staff to discuss options. To review our previously posted Multifamily Housing questions and answers on the CARES Act forbearance and COVID-19 in general, please visit the Rural Development COVID-19 Response website .
For program information...
WI-CARH Spring Training - May 11 Fair Housing Live Virtual Training
Fair Housing Live Virtual Training
May 11, 2021 - 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
WI-CARH is proud to team up with Zeffert & Associates for their expertise and excellent training services with a six-hour training on Tuesday, May 11th. This live virtual training will be geared towards property owners, managers, site personnel, maintenance technicians and anyone who provides services to the multifamily housing industry. Investing the money in this training for you and your staff will be money well spent when compared to the potential costs of not understanding fair housing obligations.
Topics to be covered include:
- Historical overview of Federal Fair Housing Laws in the United States
- The basics of the Fair Housing Act
- What is discrimination?
- Review of the seven Federal Protected classes
- Prohibited Actions Defined
- What is Sexual Harassment?
- Disparate Impact
- Fair Housing and VAWA
- Allowable advertising under the FHA
- Section 504; FHAA; ADA requirements
- Affirmative Requirements: Reasonable Accommodation and Reasonable Modification
- Assistance Animals
Each attendee who completes this course will receive a useful course manual with references, and a certificate of attendance which counts towards their continuing education hours.
9:00 am -12:00 pm - Session
12:00-12:30 pm - Lunch
12:30-3:30 pm - Session
For a complete agenda brochure please click here
WI-CARH Members: $99 (3 or more from same company $75)
Non-Members: $150 (3 or more from same company $125)
Join us as a Sponsor at WI-CARH's Spring Training
We would like to invite you to join us as a Sponsor at our Virtual Spring Training on May 11, 2021. The topic of the training is on Fair Housing.
For more information or to register, please fill out the form
. Contact the WI-CARH office at email@example.com for more information.
|WHEDA Expands Foundation Grants for Emergency and Extremely Low-Income Housing
Gov. Evers, WHEDA Announce More Than $1 Million in WHEDA Foundation Grants for Emergency and Extremely Low-Income Housing
December 21, 2020
MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers announced today that 41 organizations from Ashland to Janesville, to Eau Claire to Green Bay, will share some $1 million in grants from the WHEDA Foundation as they work to provide emergency shelter, transitional residences, and extremely low-income housing.
Administered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), the WHEDA Foundation grants improve housing for community members, including individuals with disabilities, survivors of domestic abuse, individuals with chronic mental illness, those with incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income, and youth experiencing homelessness.
"Throughout Wisconsin, providers of emergency and transitional housing are working harder than ever to keep our most vulnerable residents safe and connected with healthcare and community services that support stability and help Wisconsinites thrive," Gov. Evers said. "The WHEDA Foundation grants play an essential role in creating and improving these residences for community members."
WHEDA CEO Joaquín Altoro said this year's award of $1,040,000 in grants will create or improve 845 beds and housing units across the state. The investments at the community level also support economic recovery by creating valued construction jobs.
"By working with nonprofit and other local partners, the WHEDA Foundation leverages their expertise and builds capacity throughout Wisconsin," CEO Altoro said. "This marks the 36th year the WHEDA Foundation has provided financial support through the housing grant program. This year's grants will expand the supply of safe, affordable housing for people with special needs as well as for individuals and families negatively impacted by the pandemic."
The winning 2020 grant proposals include the purchase of a new building to serve as a new shelter in Beaver Dam, a new security system at a shelter in Merrill, a new roof at a multifamily housing property in Chilton, rehabbing vacant manufactured homes to provide housing for low-income families in Janesville and upgrading five shelter bathrooms to meet American with Disabilities Act standards in La Crosse.
Providers in Ashland, Brown, Burnett, Calumet, Dane, Dodge, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, La Crosse, Lincoln, Marinette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Polk, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Waukesha, Winnebago and Wood counties received awards ranging from $2,142 to $40,000.
WHEDA received 65 applications through the housing grant competition this year totaling $2,013,456 in funding requests, an indication of the high demand and need in Wisconsin.
The annual Housing Grant Program competition is funded entirely by WHEDA reserves and uses no state tax dollars. Organizations receiving the grants include nonprofit agencies, local governments and tribal authorities serving low-income or disadvantaged populations including homeless people, runaways, youth in out-of-home placement, people with alcohol or drug dependencies, people in need of protective services, frail elderly residents and people living with HIV disease, among others.
Since 1985, the WHEDA Foundation has issued 1,198 awards totaling $25,968,000 to housing providers across the state. Established by WHEDA in 1983, the foundation is responsible for receiving and administering housing grant funds on behalf of WHEDA. Grants are awarded in one of two categories: emergency/transitional housing or permanent housing.
A complete list of the 2020 grant award recipients is available 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 wheda.com or call 800-334-6873.
| Watch the virtual meeting on Insulation Incentives Available for Property Owners
WI-CARH held a free virtual meeting with Focus on Energy on Insulation Incentives Available for Property Owners back in October. At the virtual meeting, Focus on Energy staff, Steve Pipson and Adam Wagner shared an overview of the resources and financial incentives that are available to multifamily property owners, and gave 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
If you were unable to attend, here is the link to the Zoom Virtual Meeting that you can watch at your convenience.
WI-CARH would like to thank Steve Pipson and Adam Wagner from Focus on Energy for conducting this session for our members. 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.
|Watch the Virtual Meeting on the 2021 WI-CARH Lease and COVID Leasing Issues |
Kevin Martin, Partner from Michael Best & Friedrich LLP reviewed the 2021 WI-CARH lease in a virtual meeting back in October. Kevin addressed the following:
- 2021 WI-CARH lease form updates
- Hot topics and updates on the horizon
- Covid-19 leasing issues
If you were unable to attend, here is the link for the virtual meeting to watch at your convenience.
WI-CARH would like to thank Kevin Martin, Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP for conducting this virtual meeting. 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 Michaelbest.com.
| WI-CARH 2021 Residential Lease Is Available |
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:
The WI-CARH Lease is available and approved for use at any Rural
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
|Youth Grant and Scholarship Opportunities
Applications for the grant and scholarship program are being accepted now!
Wisconsin Council for Affordable & Rural Housing
(WI-CARH) is accepting applications for the 2020-21 Youth Grant and Scholarship program. Please spread the word and help us make a difference in a student's future! Youth grants in the amount not to exceed $500 per student, per year, until all funds are used, will be awarded to enable students in grades 3-12 to participate in an academic enrichment activity. Eligible activities include: Little League, Soccer, Volleyball or Basketball Leagues, 4H Camp, Music or Band Camp, Sports Camp, Cheerleading Camp, Girl Scouts or Boy Scout Camp, and an International Youth Exchange Program. These activities are on a year-round basis and not limited to the summer.
Help your residents achieve their educational goals. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior or adult wishing to further their education. Eligible applicants can use the scholarship at any two (2) year or higher accredited public or private school in the State of Wisconsin which offers an associate or undergraduate degree or a vocational/technical program.
Become a 2021 Member of WI-CARH!
Renew your Membership today! Not a current member?
Now is a great time to join!
WI-CARH is dedicated to assist you in the rural housing industry.
Through your membership, you help support an organization made up of your peers and housing professionals both within the State of Wisconsin and
nationally. WI-CARH members include builders, developers, lenders,
management companies, owners, non-profit agencies, and vendors. You also have the opportunity to meet industry leaders and to align yourself with a diverse group of business people involved in every sector of the affordable housing community.
When you become a member of WI-CARH, you gain access to important tools, information, and services. The monetary benefits range from discounts on conferences, training, and leases to savings through the CARH Preferred Buyers Club program. This program includes Wells Fargo Insurance Services, Home Depot, The Sherwin-Williams Company, Staples and Online Rental Exchange.
More information on the benefits of membership can be found on our website
. If you are a current member, invoices were sent out at the beginning of December and are due March 16. If you are not a member, simply complete this form
and mail it along with a check to WI-CARH at P.O. Box 258098, Madison, WI 53725.
|Covid-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
Rural Development - Wisconsin - Covid 19 link
|Mark Your Calendars for 2021 Dates
May 11, 2021: WI-CARH Spring Training - Virtual
October 28 & 29, 2021: 23rd Annual WI-CARH Conference & Board Meeting, Wilderness Territory, Wisconsin Dells, WI
|Do you have news to share? We would love to hear about it! Please submit your news to firstname.lastname@example.org