OHFA Approves $24.2 Million in Multifamily Bonds

COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) has approved $24.2 million in multifamily bonds for affordable housing developments. The bonds were approved for four projects. Covenant Apartments, L.P., will use the proceeds from the sale of $5 million in multifamily bonds to acquire and renovate the Covenant House Apartments in Toledo. Upgrades will include new windows and air conditioners, sidewalk repair, and a variety of features for residents with disabilities.

Creston Station, L.P., will use the proceeds from a $1.9 million bond sale to renovate 48 units of Sec. 8 housing at Creston Station in Creston. A maintenance building will be built, and a variety of features for individuals with disabilities will be added.

Glenwood and Glenwood II limited partnerships plan to rehabilitate 68 units in nine buildings at Glenwood Apartments I and II in Millersburg. The $3.3 million proceeds from the sale of bonds will be used to build a community building, maintenance garage, and replace all kitchen cabinetry, in addition to other upgrades.

Sunbury I, L.P., will use the proceeds from the sale of $2 million in multifamily bonds to perform extensive rehabilitation work at Sunbury Heights in Sunbury. Some of the work to the 40 units includes adding components for people with disabilities, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, window and door replacements, and the addition of air-conditioning units.

Affordable Seniors Housing Opens in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Timberlake Estates, a 67-unit affordable housing development for seniors, has opened here.

Of the $7.9 million in state funds used to construct the $8.4 million development, $1.6 million came from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund as a low-interest loan. The development also received a reservation of approximately $678,000 in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), which were sold to Enterprise Community Investment for $6.6 million.

Timberlake Estates was developed by the nonprofit Abundant Faith Christian Center and Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. Units consist of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

A total of 60 units are reserved for seniors with low incomes. Monthly rents range from $439 to $700, depending on income and unit size. Some Sec. 8 rent subsidies have also been set aside for very low income residents.


N.Y. Governor Proposes $400 Million Initiative

ALBANY, N.Y. - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed Housing Opportunity Fund would more than triple the amount that New York normally allocates to affordable housing.

Some lawmakers applauded the proposal. Others wondered how the $400 million plan would be funded, given the state’s $4 billion deficit for the fiscal year that begins in April.

The new fund would also be used to develop housing for those with addictions and physical and mental disabilities.

The majority of the funds for the program would come from New York’s Mortgage Insurance Fund and proceeds from the state’s mortgage tax, according to Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat and chairman of the Assembly Housing Committee.

More information on the initiative was to be made known after the governor presented his budget. Those details were not available at press time.


New Units Slated for Camdenton

CAMDENTON, MO. - Camdenton Apartments II, a 32-unit affordable apartment community here, will be built by Joplin, Mo.-based Red-Wood Development.

Construction on the project is expected to get under way this spring. The development has been allocated $245,000 in LIHTCs. It will also receive $385,000 in HOME funds.

Red-Wood Development plans on building one- to three-bedroom apartments at the corner of Fourth and Short streets in Camdenton next door to Lauren’s Place Apartments, a complex built by the developer in 2001.

As property values have soared in this lake area, few moderately priced housing options exist. Many in the retail and service industries need affordable housing in Camdenton, according to a story in the Lake Sun Leader.


Miami Developer Files for Chapter 11

MIAMI - The bankruptcy filing of a longtime nonprofit affordable housing developer in Miami is causing ripple effects throughout the low-income housing world in the Sunshine State. Greater Miami Neighborhoods, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in January, reported assets of less than $10 million and debts of up to $50 million in the filing. Nine affiliates of the organization also sought Chapter 11 status from the courts.

The move affects multiple creditors of the group, including the Florida Housing Finance Corp., which is owed $7.5 million, and Housing Partners Ventures, which is owed $2.65 million. Boston-based Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a national nonprofit group that preserves and restores at-risk rental housing, said it has agreed to purchase eight properties from Greater Miami Neighborhoods, a step that would affect 1,244 rental units.

“There has been a very significant public investment in creating this housing, and POAH’s purchase will also preserve the value of those public funds,” said Amy Anthony, president of POAH. Earlier in January, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved transferring Greater Miami’s interests in another 840 units to other organizations, including Enterprise Community Investment of Columbia, Md., and the Urban League of Greater Miami.

Enterprise Finances Community in S.C.

HARDEEVILLE, S.C. - Deerfield Village, a community of 26 detached rental homes here, has opened. The project was codeveloped by nonprofits Jasper County Neighbors United and Community Development & Improvement Corp. The property is financed with $3.3 million in LIHTC equity investment from Enterprise, $213,000 from Regions Bank, $500,000 from the South Carolina Housing Finance and Development Authority through the HOME Investment Partnership Program, and $250,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta.

The 9.8-acre community targets residents earning no more than 50 percent of the area median income (AMI). Two of the 26 homes will be available for those with mental health challenges. The South Carolina Department of Mental Health will provide these residents with additional supportive services including rental and utility assistance and financial management.

ACORN Lashes Out at Subprime Lender

ORLANDO, FLA. - Affordable housing activists from ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) have been staging protests here and elsewhere, accusing Ocwen Financial, a subprime lender based in West Palm Beach, Fla., of abusing distressed homeowners.

ACORN alleges that Ocwen is refusing to work with homeowners in danger of losing their homes. The group also claims that the subprime lender has neglected foreclosed homes, creating “blight of communities.” Protests are scheduled at Ocwen offices in Orlando, as well as Atlanta; Dallas; Meridian, Idaho; and West Palm Beach, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

ACORN cites a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that concluded 45 percent of the foreclosed homes that Ocwen manages for Veterans Affairs are in decline and do not meet code. The lender has denied the allegations.

Ocwen originates or services a portfolio of more than $56 billion in loans, nearly 80 percent of which are subprime mortgages. The lender said that it is working with community groups in Colorado and Ohio to help borrowers that are in trouble there.


Cabrillo Opens Complex

OXNARD, CALIF. - Villa Victoria, a 54-unit affordable apartment community here, has opened. The development was built by Ventura, Calif.-based nonprofit Cabrillo Economic Development Corp.

Half of the apartments are designated for farmworkers. The other half is designated for other low-income residents. The unit mix includes one one-bedroom unit, 34 two-bedroom units, and 19 four-bedroom units. The development was built on the site of Oxnard’s Northwest Community Golf Course Specific Plan. Amenities include garages, a picnic area, and a community room.

Senior Development Planned in SoCal

PANORAMA CITY, CALIF. - A new affordable housing development for seniors has broken ground here. The developer of the 81-unit complex is Meta Housing Corp., based in West Los Angeles.

Cantabria Senior Apartments will target people 55 and older earning no more than 60 percent of the AMI. The units will range in size from 600 to 800 square feet, once the $31 million complex is completed in the spring of 2009.

Funding for Cantabria was provided by the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, the Los Angeles Housing Department, Red Stone Equity Partners, and Citibank Community Development.

The project will feature a community center, a computer lab, a fitness center, controlled access, elevators, laundry rooms, barbecue grills, and a courtyard. Individual units will include built-in kitchen appliances, heating and air conditioning, walk-in closets, and patios or balconies.