The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) announced that is has issued $5.6 million of tax-exempt bond funds, its first transaction under a new initiative to help housing finance agencies (HFAs) maintain their lending programs during the economic downturn.

The bond proceeds were issued on behalf of New Hampshire House Associates, LLC, to acquire and rehabilitate a 150-unit development in Warren, Ohio.

The Hampshire House Apartments project will undergo various safety upgrades to lighting, fencing, doors, and stair rails, as well as energy-efficient equipment. Each apartment will also receive interior upgrades.

OHFA was awarded $27 million for multifamily housing in the state under a HFA program announced by the Obama administration last October.

The plan has two components. A New Issue Bond Program provides temporary financing to HFAs to issue new mortgage revenue bonds (MRBs).  Using authority under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the Treasury Department will purchase securities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed by these new MRBs. The program can support several hundred thousand new mortgages to first-time home buyers this coming year, as well as refinancing opportunities to put at-risk but responsible and performing borrowers into more sustainable mortgages, said officials. The new bond issuance is also expected to support development of tens of thousands of new rental housing units for working families.

 The second piece is the Temporary Credit and Liquidity Program for outstanding HFA variable-rate debt to strengthen HFA lending capacity. Fannie and Freddie will provide replacement credit and liquidity facilities to HFAs that will help reduce the costs of maintaining existing financing for the HFAs. Treasury will backstop the government-sponsored enterprise replacement credit and liquidity facilities for the HFAs by buying an interest in them.