Madison, Wis. — The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Develop-ment Authority (WHEDA) has committed another $10 million to its Wisconsin Saving Our Stock (SOS) program, which focuses on preserving Sec. 8 units.

SOS was created in 2004 with an initial $10 million. The funds – targeted to Sec. 8 housing but available for other affordable units, including expiring low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) properties – can be used to restructure debt or make capital improvements.

In December 2005, WHEDA also launched Preservation Plus, a tax-exempt bond-backed loan program that offers interest rates at 25 basis points below WHEDA’s standard tax-exempt rate. Calling Preservation Plus “a creative solution to reducing … financing gaps,” WHEDA Executive Director Antonio Riley said such innovative financing products were critical to the preservation of affordable housing.

The SOS program received an award for program excellence at the 2005 annual conference of the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

In addition, Wisconsin’s qualified allocation plan already has the nation’s highest preservation set-aside, which it increased in 2005 to 40%, from 35%.

Illinois launches immigrant homebuying program

Chicago — In December, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced a new homebuyer lending program targeting immigrant and minority communities.

The program, Opportunity I-Loan, will serve households without a traditional checking account or established credit history.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority will accept tax returns using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) or Social Security numbers.

Applicants must show that they have paid income taxes for the previous two years.

A similar ITIN program in Wisconsin has drawn criticism from critics who thought it served illegal immigrants, despite denials from state authorities (see Affordable Housing Finance, November 2004, page 70)

Michigan announces $10 million to house homeless

Lansing, Mich. — The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has approved $10 million for eight communities to help provide permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless.

MSHDA estimates that between 6,000 and 8,000 people are chronically homeless in the state.

The cities receiving the funds have the largest chronically homeless populations. Detroit will receive $3 million; up to $1 million will go to each of seven other communities – Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Flint, Lansing, Muskegon, Pontiac and Saginaw.

The funds can be used for development costs for new construction, acquisition/rehabilitation, or master leasing of existing units to create supportive housing.

Nebraska makes 2006 first-round LIHTC reservations

Lincoln, Neb. — The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority approved nearly $1.5 million in LIHTCs in the first 2006 round. Great West Townhomes, LLC, was reserved $223,295; The Village at Kearney, L.P., $82,684; North Omaha Crown, L.P., $415,666; The Village at Aurora, L.P., $176,422; and Old Mill Crown, Ltd., $149,540.

Two previous awardees received supplemental allocations. Apple River Crown, LLC, was allocated $12,849; and 5217 S. 28 Street, LLC, $34,213.

HUD awards $1.1 million to South Dakota homeless

Pierre, S.D. — The South Dakota Housing Development Authority announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development had awarded $1.1 million to four organizations that provide housing and services to the homeless.

My Home, a supportive housing project in Sioux Falls, received $300,000.

When it is completed, My Home will provide 24 new-construction apartments for people with severe mental disabilities. Cornerstone Rescue Mission was awarded $640,000 for a transitional housing project for homeless families in Rapid City.

Sioux Falls Housing and Redevelopment Commission received $111,000 for a tenant-based rental assistance program serving homeless persons with serious mental illness. Goodwill Industries in Sioux Falls received about $53,000 for its job training program for the homeless.

Anderson succeeds Fricke at NDHFA

Bismarck, N.D. — Michael A. Anderson was named executive director of the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency in fall 2005, succeeding Pat Fricke. Anderson had served as acting executive director since Fricke retired in August (see Affordable Housing Finance, October 2005, page 76)

Anderson had directed the agency’s homeownership programs since 1983. Before that, he was a branch manager for a North Dakota savings and loan. He praised the financial health the agency achieved under the stewardship of Fricke, who had also served in the commercial financial services world before joining the agency. Fricke “mentored me in my development as an affordable housing advocate, as well as a public service provider and administrator,” said Anderson.