New Developments: Mid-Year Check-In

4 min read

The engines are running at full tilt at National Housing & Rehabilitation Association. It’s just half-way through what is turning into a productive year and I wanted to update you on various projects-in-progress:

  • We have just completed the first draft of a new white paper from the NH&RA’s National Council of Housing Market Analysts (NCHMA) that will focus on underwriting and conducting market study due diligence for projects utilizing the new Average Income Election. The paper considers the factors necessary for evaluating rents under the new set-aside, including calculating achievable rents, selecting appropriate comparable properties, capture rate considerations and red flags for Housing Finance Agencies and developers. The white paper is currently undergoing review by NCHMA’s Standard’s Committee and will be presented for discussion and adoption at the NCHMA Annual Meeting on November 13 in Nashville. We believe the best practices represent a significant development that will assist in the broader adoption and rollout of the new election.
  • NCHMA recently completed an extensive dialogue with the Federal Housing Administration providing feedback on potential updates to HUD’s Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) Guidebook. Throughout the winter and spring, NCHMA’s FHA Committee hosted a series of listening sessions with appraisers, market analysts, FHA chief underwriters, as well as HUD’s multifamily underwriting branch chiefs and technical branch chiefs. These sessions culminated in a series of comments and recommendations submitted on May 22 to FHA on improvements and clarifications to Chapter 7 of the MAP Guide, including suggestions regarding limited scope market studies, methodologies related to the Net Demand Analysis, Capture Rate Methodologies and Benchmarks, Project Rents Used in Market Studies, and Market Studies for the Commercial Portion of Mixed-Use Projects. We anticipate that HUD will publish an updated draft of the Guidebook later this fall.
  • We recently returned from San Francisco for National Council of State Housing Finance Agencies’ 2019 Tax Credit Connect Conference where I presented the framework for NH&RA’s Bond Policy Toolkit as part of the “Multifamily Bond Financing Seminar.” NH&RA’s Policy Director Kaitlyn Snyder and I also met with over a dozen state agency staffers to discuss strategies to expand the use of private activity bonds for multifamily housing development in their respective states. We are excited to follow-up with even more agencies in the weeks and months to come.
    The trip to San Francisco was also a great opportunity to explore how states are navigating the ever-growing challenge of preserving affordable housing. NH&RA will be convening our Symposium on Preservation Strategies on July 17 in Newport, RI. We are excited that more than a dozen housing finance agencies will be represented at the symposium along with preservation advocates and, of course, developers and financing professionals for a dialogue that explores federal, state and local policy solutions, as well as innovative financing techniques.
  • We also expect to have a busy summer working with our partners at the ACTION Campaign to recruit new sponsors for the recently introduced Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) of 2019 (S. 1703/HR 3077). Led by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Todd Young (R-IN), and Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Don Beyer (D-VA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), AHCIA would have a transformative effect on affordable housing development. Key features of AHCIA include a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit authority, the establishment of a minimum four percent Housing Credit rate, as well as numerous technical improvements.

We would love your feedback and assistance this summer as we try to build additional consensus on state and local policy solutions and best practices that drive more production through income averaging, multifamily bond development and preservation strategies. Likewise, we need your assistance as we push for expanded Congressional support of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program expansion. We are excited about the next six months and beyond and look forward to hearing from you!

Thom joined National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) in 2004 and currently serves as its as Executive Vice-President and Executive Director. NH&RA is a national trade association and peer-network for affordable housing and tax credit developers and related professionals including: investors, lenders, public agencies and professional advisers. Thom directs the association’s day-to-day operations including legislative and regulatory advocacy, committee activities, conferences and events, publications, financial management and strategic planning. Thom also serves as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Developers Council, a state-wide trade association for affordable housing developers and professionals active in Tennessee. In 2013 he spearheaded the launch of NH&RA's Preservation through Energy Efficiency Project, a major educational initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Thom also serves on the Board of Directors for International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology (iCAST) as well as the Advisory Board for its ResourceSmart program, a turn-key, cost-effective, green rehab provider for multifamily affordable and market-rate housing communities and nonprofit facilities. Thom is a frequent speaker at affordable housing, sustainable development and tax credit industry events and has been published in a variety of industry journals including Tax Credit Advisor, Independent Banker, and the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credit Housing. Thom also serves as the Associate Publisher of Tax Credit Advisor, a monthly magazine for tax credit and affordable housing professionals and is an Executive Vice-President at Dworbell Inc., a boutique association management and communications firm in Washington, DC. Thom was previously employed at a national lobbying firm focusing on financial services and technology issues. Prior to moving to Washington, Thom worked in media relations in the New York State Assembly and as a research assistant for New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Thom graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University with a double major in Political Science and History.