Novel investment approaches play an integral part in funding the development of affordable housing projects and programs. NHC Member Partner the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) was noted as a 2009 NHC “Pioneering Housing Strategies” Award finalist for its Housing Investment Fund (HIF), which provides funding for projects or initiatives that do not fit the parameters of existing programs, such as the tax credit and HOME Program, OHFA’s Housing Development Loan program, Housing Development Assistance Program or the Mortgage Revenue Bond program.
By targeting initiatives outside traditional program parameters, OHFA encourages proposals that serve Ohio residents and remove barriers to non-traditional applications, while advancing Agency policies. Approved by the OHFA Board with an initial balance of $8 million in September 2008, for-profit and non-profit organizations, public housing authorities and local governments were encouraged to apply to receive financial assistance for activities such as:
- Acquisition, holding and disposition of residential real estate;
- Pre-development, construction, and/or permanent financing for rental or for-sale development;
- Capital improvements for existing OHFA-financed properties;
- Capitalized operating subsidy;
- Funds for Individual Development Accounts linked to homeownership projects in which OHFA is a partner;
- Homeowner loans for refinance, new purchase, or renovation offered through participating lenders or nonprofit partners;
- Planning grants for comprehensive community redevelopment;
- Homebuyer education and counseling to achieve or maintain homeownership;
- Matching funds for federal or private foundation housing grants or loans; and
- Other activities or projects that address an urgent affordable housing need.
These investments are directly aligned with the OHFA Annual Plan, allowing the Agency to establish and maintain a strategic focus. The OHFA HIF is funded entirely with Agency funds. Based on a formula, the Agency has committed a portion of net income to the fund. Up to 75% of net income can be dedicated to the HIF. The Agency allocated $4 million in the first round. The second round of the fund will occur in early 2010.