The money tree was shaken hard at the Minnesota Housing October board meeting. In making its annual funding awards, the Agency committed $134 million. This commitment will result in development of 3,070 housing units and will sustain 4,500 jobs. The Agency's October board report ran 320 pages. That's what it took to describe one of the largest funding commitments ever made by Minnesota Housing through the Consolidated Request for Proposals (RFP).
Awards for 33 Rental & 35 Ownership Projects
For rental development, 33 proposals were funded, with commitments totaling $112.5 million. Of these, 13 will be located in the central cities, 8 in the Twin Cities suburbs, and 12 in Greater Minnesota. Included within this set of awards are 120 long term homeless units. 45 proposals were not funded.
On the home ownership side, 35 of the 38 applications reviewed by the Agency received a funding commitment. Fifteen are in the central cities, 6 in the Twin Cities suburbs, and 13 are in Greater Minnesota.
While individual home ownership funding awards have almost always have been under $1 million, Assistant Commissioner Mike Haley said that the Agency was breaking from that practice with a $2.5 million award to Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMHC). This will allow GMHC to continue its ambitious program of acquiring and renovating foreclosed homes in Minneapolis. Since 2007 GMHC has acquired and rehabilitated 250 foreclosed Minneapolis homes.
Awards to Tax Credit Applicants
The fall funding round is also when most federal low income housing tax credits are awarded. The Agency selected 13 proposals and awarded $7.7 million in credits. This will leave a $426,000 balance in credits to be awarded in a second funding round early next year. Commissioner Tingerthal mentioned that because of the high price now being paid by tax credits, this will be the first time the Agency will not need to commit gap funds for many of the selected projects. The ratio of requests to funded projects was 3 to 1.
Bonding Victory Boosts Awards
The increase in funding available for this year's allocations was largely due to the $30 million in housing infrastructure bonds approved by the 2012 legislature. This new resource will support eight rental developments and six community land trusts, which will help finance development or rehab of 650 units of housing. (Earlier in the meeting Tingerthal reported that the National Council of State Housing Agencies gave its annual advocacy award, pictured at right, to Minnesota Housing for the bonding campaign at the 2012 legislature.)
In approving these awards, new board member John DeCramer said he was impressed with the Community Involvement Programs (CIP) Scattered Site proposal because of efforts to enlist the support of other agencies. The proposal will rehab properties in suburban Hennepin County which will be occupied by individuals with mental illness. In addition, Hennepin County Sentence to Service, a program that provides a sentencing alternative for low-risk adult and juvenile offenders, will be the general contractor.
Member Stephanie Klinzing said she was not clear about what staff meant when they used the term "sustainability." Tingerthal responded that she recently discovered that state agencies across the country have many different definitions of green and sustainability, and that it can be confusing. She said that the staff will host an information session for the board regarding how the Agency uses these terms and where developers are required to meet green standards.
In other business, the board approved the Annual Action Plan for Housing and Community Development. This plan allocates federal housing and community development block grant funding received by the state. $15.6 million in HOME funds are being programmed by Minnesota Housing for 2013. Staff said that allocations of HOME funds are consistent with the Agency's Affordable Housing Plan.