Missouri Agency to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Affordable Housing Developments

The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) will hold public hearings at two different locations

Eugene Gilligan, Contributing Writer

Kansas City, Mo.–The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) will hold public hearings at two different locations in May to discuss 14 affordable housing development proposals submitted by developers. Developers applied for these funds in response to the 2010 Round 2 Notification of Funding Availability issued by the agency in December, 2009.

At the public hearing, MHDC staff will describe the developments under consideration and accept and record public comments. Any interested party may attend the hearing, to submit verbal and written comments.

“Some in the community are very supportive of affordable housing, while others will say certain projects aren’t needed,” says Kathryn Watts, special assistant to the director of rental production at the MHDC. “This provides the community a chance to provide their input.”

The housing projects are being financed with 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits and tax-exempt bonds. The 4 percent refers to the annual percentage that investors in the program claim on federal tax returns over a ten-year period. After the hearing, MHDC’s commissioners will vote on approval, with that step likely taking place in May, Watts said.

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit program has suffered from a lack of investment in recent years, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have exited the program, as well as many large financial institutions who were major LIHTC investors. The recession has played a role in that.

“Many investors are unsure of their tax liability over the next 10 years,” Watts says.

St. Louis and Kansas City each are home to six of the proposed developments, while Independence and St. Joseph have one proposed development each.

The hearing in St. Louis is scheduled for May 4 at the Renaissance Airport Hotel at 7pm. The hearing in Kansas City is slated for May 5 at the Missouri Housing Development Commission, lower level, at 5pm.

The MHDC is governed by a board of directors, which includes the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer, and six commissioners appointed by the governor. The commission makes funds available for rental housing developments, preservation of affordable rental housing, home mortgages, home improvement loans, grants to neighborhood housing groups, and other housing programs. MHDC functions as a bank, providing financing directly to developers or through a network of private lending institutions.