Rx for Hunger: Affordable Housing

Did you know that nearly half of the people coming to food pantries today are working a full-time job, sometimes two and three jobs, to make ends meet?

“When we ask those in need to share the circumstances of their situations, they talk about affordable housing and mortgages, living wages and accessible health care. Without health care, a simple or a severe case of the flu which results in a hospital visit could be a major disaster. With all of these challenging conditions, families are forced into some very tough decisions. These are choices that a parent who is working hard every day should not have to make.”  Check out this 2008 Charleston Currents article from D. JERMAINE HUSSER, Executive Director of the Lowcountry Food Bank. 

LHT believes that this article is still timely and very relevant. For most families, housing is their single largest annual expenditure.  Looking for an Rx for Hunger: Affordable Housing!

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CRISIS CREATES OPPORTUNITY: HOMEOWNERSHIP WITHIN REACH

Over the past 20 years there has been a tremendous need for affordable housing throughout the Lowcountry. Vital members of our community– teachers, firefighters, policemen, paramedics, and service industry workers- could not afford to house their families. Statistics compiled by the federal government indicate that over 45% of the households in the tri-county earn less than $44,700. People earning these wages simply could not afford the rising cost of housing in the tri-county area that hovered above the $200,000 mark and many were devoting over half their income to shelter. The supply of safe, sanitary, affordable housing simply could not meet the demand. 

The silver lining in what has been called the greatest Housing Crisis in American history is that “Homeownership continues its more than year-long trend of remaining within reach of more households than it has for almost two decades,” says National Association of Home Builders chairman Bob Jones.  Read More

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Lowcountry Housing Trust and ULI SC to Host Affordable Housing Finance Workshop

 

For Immediate Release                                Media Contact: Tammie C. Hoy

May 18, 2010                                        Cell: 864-9800

 

Lowcountry Housing Trust and ULI South Carolina to
Host Affordable Housing Finance Workshop

 

Charleston, SC – The Lowcountry Housing Trust is hosting a workshop, AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE: Concept to Closing on Friday, May 21, 2010. The event, which is sponsored in part by ULI South Carolina, will be held at Trident Technical College’s Complex for Economic Development from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The purpose of the workshop is to educate for-profit and nonprofit developers about current housing finance and community development lending programs available to assist in the production of affordable housing. The workshop will also provide networking opportunities to facilitate communication among those that approve, develop, finance, and market affordable housing projects.

 

Speakers include Richard Kaglic an Economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Charlotte Branch discussing the current economic environment and representatives from two national affordable housing loan funds, Community Investment Corporation of the Carolinas and Community Affordable Housing Equity Fund Development. Additionally, Local Housing and Community Development Practitioners and Counselors will be on hand to provide information about available services and answer questions.

 

What?        AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE: Concept to Closing

Where?    Trident Technical College – Complex for Economic Development, Building 920

        7000 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston SC 29423

When?        Friday, May 21, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

How much?    Registration fee is $25 per person. This includes a full breakfast and printed & electronic affordable housing publications. Space for the workshop is limited. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register for the event at www.southcarolina.uli.org or call 800-321-5011 (event code: 81481053)

 

Please feel free to contact Michelle Mapp at 843.973.3596 with Lowcountry Housing Trust or Heather Foley at 843.513.9331 with the Urban Land Institute with any questions regarding the event.     

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Tammie Hoy takes a position with Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

CHARLESTON, SC—(May 6, 2010) Tammie Hoy, Executive Director of the Lowcountry Housing Trust (LHT), will be leaving the Trust to take a new position with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Community Affairs Office as their Regional Community Development Manager for North and South Carolina.  

Since 2004, Tammie has guided the growth of the Trust, a regional non-profit community development financial institution (CDFI) established to provide financing for the production and preservation of affordable housing, and to encourage and implement polices that reduce unnecessary regulatory barriers to such production. Tammie’s work at the Trust entailed uniting people, funding and expertise to creatively promote and actively stimulate the development of well designed and well built affordably-priced housing locally, regionally and statewide.

“Although I am very excited about my new opportunity, it comes with some sadness to leave my existing role at the Trust. The past six years have been an amazing opportunity for me personally and professionally. As the founding director, I have seen the Trust blossom into an amazing organization that meets a critical need in the community by increasing affordable housing opportunities.  I have been honored to be a part of such an outstanding organization and its growth. I leave the Trust with an amazing staff and a strong Board of Directors whom are committed to its mission and will collectively take the organization to the next level in affordable housing finance.”  Tammie Hoy

Under Tammie’s leadership LHT has become a lead financier for affordable housing in the region investing over $8 million in community development financing in the tri-county including federal stimulus funds helping to create over 550 units of affordable housing.

 “We will miss Tammie, but recognize that she has left LHT with an amazing staff in a strong organizational and financial position.  Through her leadership we have implemented a transition plan, which includes a national search for a new Executive Director.  I can’t say enough about how much Tammie has done for LHT and the mission of providing decent affordable housing in the Tri county area.  We wish her much success and look forward to working with her in her new role.” Tony Woody, Chairman.

Although Tammie will no longer work specifically for the Trust and its target market, her new role will keep her closely tied to community development. As a Regional Community Development Manager with the Bank, Tammie will represent the Community Affairs Office on community development issues by providing education, outreach, policy initiatives and community economic development support for North and South Carolina.

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Housing may NOT be the cause of the Housing Crisis!

What we in the affordable housing arena have known for a long time is suddenly being realized by the rest of the world.  The Housing Crisis is not a failure of housing policy over the past 30 years that was designed to give an opportunity and access to housing finance to qualified under served and under represented Americans.  We in the industry recognized early on that the key to successful homeownership initiatives was not just access to capital but financial literacy and homebuyer education. 

So, it appears that housing may in fact NOT be the cause of the housing crisis.  What the data is now starting to reveal is that Americans are drowning under non housing debt. 

There was a time when 30/36 meant something not just to banks doling out loans but also to consumers.  30/36 represents what is known as front and back ratios in the lending world.  The front ratio is the proportion of a borrower’s income that lenders will allow for principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) on a property.  Thus an affordable mortgage is one in which a household is not spending more than 30% of their gross annual income on housing payments.  The back ratio is the proportion of a borrower’s income that lenders will allow for PITI plus other monthly debt obligations (car payments, student loans, credit cards, etc.).  Lenders in days past would not extend any additional credit to you if your total debt to income ratio exceeded 36% of your gross annual income.

The Calculated Risk blog points to an alarming statistic from the latest Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) report. As shown in the table above, the median borrower who received a permanent modification had a back-end debt-to-income ratio of 77.5 percent before the modification. That means 77.5% of their gross income is spent making debt payments! Even after receiving the modification, this ratio drops only to 61.3 percent, which is still a large burden to sustain and could continue to lead to more foreclosures.

The question has been asked and we will gladly answer that the challenge to modifying more delinquent borrowers through the HAMP program is that many households actually have an affordable mortgage with a front ratio of 31% or less thus making them ineligible for the program. Most Americans did not buy more house than they could afford…they bought more stuff in addition to their homes that they could not afford. The question then becomes what is the lifeline for those drowning under non housing debt. Unfortunately, for far too many Americans that lifeline seems to be bankruptcy court.

So, it appears that we housing enthusiasts have come full circle…financial literacy, homebuyer education, and most importantly debt management may be the keys to unlocking the housing crisis door and preventing us from ever going down this path again in the future. #chs

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LHT Requests $6M in Capital Magnet Funds

On April 15th the US Treasury Department through the CDFI Fund announced the availability of $80M to be made available for non profit affordable housing developers and certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) administering revolving loan funds for such projects. After surveying the current affordable housing market and fully understanding the local financing needs, the Lowcountry Housing Trust (LHT) applied for over $6M which could be made available to area affordable housing developers in the form of a 15 year permanent financing loan for low to moderate income rental developments.

The application was extremely competitive and had a quick turn around time, due April 15th. LHT is the only CDFI in the Lowcountry providing this type of financing. Although these funds are highly sought after, LHT is confident its track record and ability to leverage investments from public and private sources will make LHT a competitive candidate. The Capital Magnet Fund (CMF) was authorized by the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act and was funded through this year’s budget.
Learn More at …….

Tammie C. Hoy

Executive Director

Lowcountry Housing Trust

PO Box 21163

Charleston, SC29413

843-973-7285 p

843-973-3598 f

www.lowcountryhousingtrust.org

tammie

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Making Housing Happen…

The Lowcountry Housing Trust, a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Finance Institution, continues to play a key role in financing local housing projects in this tough economic environment.

The Humanities Foundation received $3.5 million in Tax Credit Assistance Program funds administered through the State Housing, Finance and Development Authority as part of the federal stimulus package that Congress passed last year. It then leveraged that money to line up more funding from other sources, including the Charleston Home Program, the city Housing Authority, the Lowcountry Housing Trust, Bank of America and real estate investment firms Boston Capital and The Richman Group.

“This is not easy stuff to do, not even in good times,” said Ellen Rogers, senior vice president of the community development bank at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “In this economic environment, it is 10 times harder to make it happen. They have really pulled it together.”  Read More

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