The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has launched a program to expand the talent pool and increase diversity in the housing development field.

md3d/Adobe Stock
md3d/Adobe Stock

The agency’s board approved a $5 million award to the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) to provide capital, training, and technical assistance aimed at expanding access to the housing resources administered by the state. A focus of the Next Generation Capacity Building Initiative will be to reduce barriers to entry for developers of color in the low-income housing tax credit program.

“The Next Gen program will support a talented but underrepresented group of developers that have historically faced higher barriers to participation in state and federal programs,” IHDA executive director Kristin Faust said. “IHDA believes that greater diversity among the state’s development partners will lead to more inclusive outcomes for residents and greater community engagement in the developments we fund, and we are grateful to partner with LISC in this innovative approach that will increase access to key financial and technical resources that have been out of reach for many.”

Kristin L. Faust
Joel Plotkin Kristin L. Faust

First, IHDA will use Next Gen grant funds to establish a predevelopment loan fund administered by LISC to support the preconstruction and planning costs necessary to establish project design, scope, site control, and other early costs.

Second, an in-depth training series will be provided to program participants. This will include 160 hours of training curriculum delivered by LISC on affordable housing development and housing tax credits, with additions to provide specific training on IHDA’s tax credit program and processes. LISC will also coordinate networking opportunities for participants to connect with seasoned industry professionals.

Third, project specific technical assistance will be provided to each BIPOC developer or development team that receives a loan from the predevelopment loan fund as they work on their proposal and move their project along IHDA’s application process. The technical assistance will be curated to participants’ specific needs with a focus on building their capacity and potential development project.

IHDA expects the developer application process to begin in the fall, with participant selections and training beginning in early 2024. More information on the application process, participant eligibility, and program details will be available through LISC Central Illinois.