JUBILEE HOUSING is renovating one of its longtime housing developments with one unique addition: a 24-hour child-care center.

The facility will serve 46 children in full-day educational activities and offer night and weekend care to help parents who work evening shifts. The center is part of the $9 million Ontario Court development in Washington, D.C., that features the rehabilitation of 27 affordable apartments.

“There are second- and third-shift workers, and child care after hours is even tougher than regular hours,” said Jim Knight, executive director of Jubilee Housing.

Several factors led to the decision to create the center. Staff members knew anecdotally that child care was needed during different hours. Child care also scored high when residents were asked to vote on different services, and Jubilee JumpStart, a sister organization to the nonprofit housing provider, wanted to do such a program, Knight said.

The development is financed with the help of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs), a federal program that aims to bring private investment into lowincome communities. The tax credits are coming from Enterprise, a leading NMTC allocatee. The credits are helping leverage financing for the project, including a $2.8 million NMTC-enhanced investment from PNC New Markets Investment Partners. Ontario Court is Enterprise’s first NMTC investment in Washington, D.C. PNC Bank and the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development are also involved.

Ontario Court is expected to be completed in the fall.

HFAs Hold Steady in Rough Market

DESPITE BIG TROUBLES in the residential real estate market, municipal housing bond issuance will be strong in 2008, said Standard & Poor's Rating Services.

Demand for housing finance agency (HFA) single-family loan products has been strong from borrowers and could become even more attractive, said the report.

S&P noted that growth could accelerate if HFAs are given the ability to issue tax-exempt debt to provide refinancing to homeowners in danger for foreclosure.

According to S&P, 94 percent of HFA issues are rated "AA" or better, and 97 percent of local agency issues are rated "AA" or better. In 2007, local bond issuance totaled $6.6 billion, while HFA issuance totaled $24.1 billion.

Saving Affordable Units Near Transportation

ABOUT 100,000 federally assisted housing units are located within a half-mile of rail stations in eight cities, according to a new study by the National Housing Trust and Reconnection America. These units are home to more than 300,000 individuals.

What's troubling is that a majority of these units, 63 percent, have rental-assistance contracts expiring in the next five years. The cities covered in the report are Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Denver; New York City; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis; and Seattle.

The report says state housing finance agencies should prioritize the allocation of low-income housing tax credits to the preservation of affordable housing near transit, and the federal government should continue its commitment to the Sec. 8 program. For more information, visit www.nhtinc.org.