Ronne Thielen brings one of the broadest perspectives to the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) industry. It comes from having filled varied roles during her career, including allocator, consultant, and syndicator. Through it all, she’s been a constant voice speaking out for affordable housing.
“It’s important not to forget what this is all about—affordable housing for people,” says Thielen, executive vice president of R4 Capital, based in the LIHTC syndicator’s Santa Ana, Calif., office.
Thielen’s housing career began even before the LIHTC program. She helped start the multifamily housing program at the Vermont Housing Finance Agency in the late 1970s before moving over to head its asset management operations.
“I would inspect properties and talk with residents,” she says. “It’s where I first learned how important it was to have this home. It was about the people who lived there.”
Thielen later joined the Council of State Housing Agencies, now known as the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), to manage a grant that had been obtained to find new ways to bring services to federally assisted seniors housing and to work with state housing finance agencies (HFAs) on multifamily housing programs.
The timing was fortuitous. Congress created the LIHTC program in 1986, and Thielen’s post at the NCSHA placed her in the middle of the action. For the next four years, she worked with HFAs, the Internal Revenue Service, and Congress to implement the program in every state.
Thielen was among the housing leaders taking part in “fly-ins” at hotel airports around the country, studying the rules and getting the program off the ground.
“Since then, she’s helped inform the policy discussion about how to improve the housing credit,” says Garth Rieman, the NCSHA’s director of housing advocacy and strategic initiatives.
Thielen later became executive director of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, from 1991 to 1994, where she revamped the state’s LIHTC program.
More recently, Thielen has been a syndicator, working with developers to provide equity for their projects. At R4 Capital, she oversees West Coast operations and acquires deals throughout the country. Earlier, she served as a managing director at Centerline Capital Group, formerly Related Capital, for 17 years. Over the years, she’s helped finance more than 10,000 affordable units.
“Ronne has a unique ability to understand and reconcile the needs of the diverse array of parties,” says Marc Schnitzer, president of R4 Capital. “This is due to her wide-ranging experience in housing, extreme integrity, and hard work. She maintains an extraordinary level of credibility with parties ranging from state agency and federal government officials to nonprofit and for-profit developers to investors.”
She’s a past, three-term president and current board member of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition. Thielen also serves on the boards of the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association and Abode Communities, a nonprofit housing developer in Los Angeles.
Thielen has a son, Marshall, and four grandchildren.