Developer: Mescalero Apache Housing Authority Architect: Atkin Olshin Schade Architects

Major Funders: Mescalero Apache Housing Authority; New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority; Raymond James Tax Credit Funds,Inc.; KeyBank; New Mexico Housing Trust Fun.

MESCALERO, N.M.— The name I-Sah'-din'-dii means “drumbeat” in Apache.

It's a fitting name for a development nestled in a New Mexico mountain range where, for generations, members of the Mescalero Apache tribe have gathered to play music, dance, and sing.

Demand was so high for the 30 single-family rental units—the first new development on the reservation in more than 12 years—that more than 265 families were on the waiting list before construction even began.

Almost 77 percent of the families on the reservation earn less than 50 percent of the area median income, and 66 percent live in substandard or overcrowded housing, according to developer Mescalero Apache Housing Authority.

The development reflects the community at large. Not only were tribal members trained in construction skills during development, but the community room and most of the units have an east entry, the traditional Mescalero home orientation. And Environmental Protection Agency-approved energy-efficient woodstoves, a traditional heating source, were installed in every unit. Services include job training and homeownership education programs, financial literacy classes, a computer lab, on-site health care, and access to the Tribal Day Care Centers.

The $8.8 million development was funded through more than $5.7 million in low-income housing tax credit equity syndicated by Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc., and purchased by KeyBank; more than $1.3 million in Native American Housing Assistance funds from the Mescalero Apache Housing Authority; more than $750,000 in a construction loan from the Housing Trust Fund of the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, which also kicked in $315,000 in a HOME construction/permanent loan; and an $843,460 deferred developer fee. —Jerry Ascierto


Developers: Cook Inlet Housing Authority and Association of Village Council Presidents Regional Housing Authority Architect: WHPacific

Major Funders: Alaska Housing Finance Corp.; Association of Village Council Presidents; Department of Housing and Urban Development

HOOPER BAY, ALASKA— You can't drive to Hooper Bay. The traditional Eskimo community on the West Coast of Alaska is only accessible by plane year-round, though you can take a boat there from June to October.

The rural community was already struggling with a housing shortage when a fire gutted the heart of the town in August 2006, leaving 70 people homeless.

The local housing authorities faced immense challenges in constructing the 19-unit development, including a five-month building season and a lack of local skilled labor. So, prefabricated modular construction was employed.

Making sure the modules arrived by barge in time was difficult enough. But then the modular plant went bankrupt with only twothirds of the modules completed. The general contractor worked directly with the plant to get the final modules built on time.

The housing had to be built on steel pilings to accommodate the tundra's permafrost and a high water table. And design played a big role. Since the local lifestyle favored intergenerational housing, the project features two-, three-, four-, and even five-bedroom units.

Securing an equity investor in such a remote location, especially during 2008 and 2009, was impossible. So, the $12.3 million project scored $7 million in equity through the Tax Credit Exchange Program; tapped $843,500 in federal and state HOME funds; received a $300,000 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rural Housing and Economic Development grant; found nearly $2.5 million through Alaska Housing Finance Corp.'s Supplemental Grant Program; and got nearly $1.7 million in Native American Housing Assistance funds contributed from the Association of Village Council Presidents through HUD. —Jerry Ascierto


Developer: Catholic Housing Services Architect: Environmental Works

Major Funders: Washington State Housing Finance Commission; State of Washington Department of Commerce; Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington

CENTRALIA, WASH.—A farmworker community located in the poorest county of Washington, Centralia's lack of affordable housing became even more apparent when a flood destroyed many homes in 2007.

The shortage forced many of the region's farmworkers into substandard or overcrowded housing, or to camp illegally. About 15 percent of the region's farmworkers live outdoors, in a shed or a car, while another 36 percent are in overcrowded units, according to a 2009 Washington State Farmworkers Trust survey.

The 50-unit Villa San Juan Batista, built by Catholic Housing Services (CHS), had about 30 applications in mid-April—though the project won't come online until August.

NIMBY concerns from a neighboring housing development delayed the project for about a year. And then there were the archeological digs. The site, situated on a river, was considered a perfect spot for a Native American village, and CHS had to work closely with the Chehalis Tribe and Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation on extensive tests, reports, and permits.

The development will feature a community garden, a computer lab, and playgrounds. Activities like English classes and homeownership training are also planned. And the development will feature a “mud room,” with designated places for shoe and outerware removal, for the farmworkers.

Energy-efficient techniques, like high-performance vinyl windows, compact fluorescent light fixtures with occupancy sensors, and Energy Star appliances, were used, and recycled materials were used whenever possible.

The $8.9 million development was funded with more than $6.9 million in Tax Credit Exchange Program equity; $1.8 million through the State of Washington Department of Commerce; and a deferred developer fee from CHS of $157,632.—Jerry Ascierto