Illinois Launches Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has launched a statewide initiative to preserve affordable rental homes in Illinois.

Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Chicago–The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has launched a statewide initiative to preserve affordable rental homes in Illinois–the aptly named Preservation Initiative. In the effort, IHDA is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the MacArthur Foundation and private developers.

IHDA is the agency that finances affordable housing projects in Illinois, having financed about 210,000 affordable units to the tune of $10 billion since its creation more than 40 years ago. The agency is self-supporting–a good thing to be, considering the dire state of the state’s finances in 2010–and pursues its mission through a number of federal and state funding sources. That includes the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credits Fund, the allocation of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and HOME Investment Partnership funds. IHDA is also a bonding authority.

The Preservation Initiative is being funded through IHDA’s Multi-Family Initiative Bonds program, which in turn was funded with federal assistance last October. The federal monies were slated to help housing finance agencies nationwide expand programs that encourage the production of affordable homes.

Under the Multi-Family Initiative Bonds program, IHDA is making $184 million available in tax-exempt bond financing for housing development. The Preservation Initiative is going to get a yet-to-be-determined piece of that pie.

The IHDA is now asking private developers to submit plans to build, acquire and rehabilitate affordable housing in the state, with the goal of funding some of the projects through the Preservation Initiative. Developers with affordable housing plans approved by the agency, including preservation, will be awarded low-interest loans for their projects in the coming months.

“Our new program will help reposition property in the market to make it more competitive,” Gloria L. Materre, executive director of IHDA, tells MHN. “The initiative will also extend affordability, and offer an attractive rate to put developments in a more stable financial position.”

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