NeighborWorks to Invest Over $50M to Rehab, Develop Affordable Rental Housing in 2009

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–NeighborWorks America is forecasting the total investment in its portfolio of owned and managed multifamily affordable rental housing to grow by more than $50 million, or just over eight percent of the investment made in the year ended Sept. 30 2008. Last year, NeighborWorks organizations invested in excess of $644 million in multifamily properties. The expected growth in 2009 will translate into approximately 5,000 additional units of affordable and what it said is increasingly environmentally sustainable housing.“We believe rental housing needs to be strengthened and needs to take a more prominent role in the national housing debate especially because of all the foreclosures,” Douglas Robinson, spokesman for NeighborWorks America, tells MHN. “We see this time as the perfect opportunity to talk about rental housing. If we had been doing that, maybe all these people would not have rushed into homeownership when they clearly could not afford it.”Robinson noted that while tax credit projects are likely to continue to come under pricing pressure, he is confident that NeighborWorks organizations and other developers of  affordable and sustainable housing will create the innovative financing structures necessary to increase and preserve the supply of affordable rental housing. “Our network of companies believes that their communities need more rental housing now,” he adds. To tackle the financing obstacle caused by the housing tax credits situation, NeighborWorks America is expanding its outreach to new business partners in 2009 in an effort to establish collaborations that will help keep rental housing affordable. “We will be at the International Builders Show looking at big paint, door manufacturing, waste management companies and many such organizations who are interested in investing money in our projects,” says Robinson.“We’re excited about 2009 and the challenges that the rental industry faces and the opportunities to further the types of private, public and non-profit partnerships that will produce great housing for thousands of America’s families,” says Howard Lewis, director of National Real Estate Programs for NeighborWorks America.