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Affordable Housing Advisory Council
2014 Annual Report

REPORT FROM THE CHAIR

Introduction

The National Housing Conference’s Housing Landscape 2015 reports that while housing affordability has improved slightly for low- and moderate-income households, one in four working renter households still spends more than half its income on housing each month. The housing cost burden is still greater for extremely low-income families and individuals, with 80% of those households paying more than half their income on housing. Working families who own their homes are also experiencing severe housing cost burdens. And the challenges of providing special needs populations with housing that is as supportive as it is affordable continue. For too many Americans, spending so much to keep a roof over their heads means that they have barely enough left for other essentials - food, transportation, and healthcare - much less for the consumer spending that feeds our economy.

The housing cost burdens placed on lower-income families are not new, of course. Theodore Roosevelt created the first President’s Housing Commission in 1908 to address the issue of providing decent housing for low-income Americans. Since then many solutions to this challenge have been explored and implemented, with varying degrees of success. For the last 25 years, the Federal Home Loan Bank System’s Affordable Housing Program (AHP) has proven to be among the more effective solutions for easing the burden of housing costs. It is now one of the largest private sources of grant funds for affordable housing in the country, with more than $4.4 billion provided to create or preserve more than 724,000 affordable housing units since 1990.

Since their inception, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s competitive AHP and homeownership set-aside programs have made $850 million available to deliver affordable housing solutions for lower-income families, seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans, young people transitioning out of the foster care system and other at-risk youth, people with disabilities, individuals struggling to overcome addiction, and homeless men, women, and children.

But now, 25 years on, the environment for affordable housing development is not the same as it was when the AHP was conceived. Development has grown more complicated year after year, as have the needs of the populations these AHP dollars are meant to serve. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the successful launch of the AHP, the Affordable Housing Advisory Council looks forward to working together with the Bank, its members, developers, community groups, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to modernize and refresh the program in ways that will make it an ever more relevant part of efforts aimed at creating and preserving more affordable housing.

AHP: Celebrating 25 Years of Support for Affordable Housing

The Bank awarded $49.4 million in grants in the Bank’s 2014 AHP funding competition, through 22 Bank members, to 76 projects that will construct or rehabilitate 5,055 units of housing affordable to lower-income individuals and families in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

2014 Competitive Affordable Housing Program (AHP) Results

  2014 2014 2014  
(Dollars in millions, except subsidy per unit) Rental Ownership Total 1990-2014
Applications Received                
Number of Applications   165   11   176   5,699
Subsidy Requested   $117.2   $2.3   $119.5   $2,263.1
Approved Applications                
Number of Applications   69   7   76   2,104
Subsidy Awarded   $47.8   $1.6   $49.4   $781.5
Number of Units   4,966   89   5,055   111,592
Effectiveness                
Average Subsidy per Unit   $9,616   $18,388   $9,770   $7,003

In its 25th year, the AHP continues to be a flexible source of gap funding for projects that create an affordable place to call home for low- and moderate-income families and individuals. While AHP grants are generally a small part of the total development budget, the winning of AHP dollars, through a rigorous competitive application process, signals to other funders that a project’s ability to serve its targeted population has been well scrutinized.

Grants awarded in 2014, ranging from $25,000 to $1.5 million each, will support a wide range of targeted projects, including:

AHP Implementation Plan Changes
The Bank continually works with the Advisory Council to develop modifications to its programs in response to changing circumstances and shifting priorities. In 2014, the Bank made the following changes to its AHP Implementation Plan:

Definition of "Project"
The Bank added a definition of "project" to clarify that a project may consist of one or more structures as long as all of the residential units in the structure(s) are included in the total project units. Units may not be segregated within one or more structures and be designated as separate projects.

Tie-Breaking Criterion
As the Bank has modified several scoring categories over the past five years-Empowerment and Stability in particular-there are now fewer categories that award fractions of points, thereby increasing the frequency of ties. Because the amount of funding committed to a project at the point of application is an objective and easily verifiable criterion, the Bank will now rank projects with identical scores in descending order by the highest percentage of committed sources of funds (measured in dollars) over total sources of funds.

Feasibility Benchmarks Changes
The following changes were made to provide the Bank with a means of evaluating cashflow outside of the debt coverage ratio:

On-Site Monitoring
A provision was added to the Bank’s AHP Compliance Monitoring Guidelines stating that the Bank, at its discretion, will conduct on-site monitoring of AHP projects, and the decision to conduct a site visit will be based on factors related to the project’s status, including:

WISH & IDEA: Helping Homebuyers Reach Their Dream

In 2014, the Bank set aside $9 million from its annual AHP contribution to fund matching grants for eligible homebuyers through the Workforce Initiative Subsidy for Homeownership (WISH) and Individual Development and Empowerment Account (IDEA) first-time homebuyer programs, which offer 3-to-1 matching grants of up to $15,000 for the purchase of a home.

Twenty-five members reserved a total of $7.4 million in WISH funds and $1.6 million in IDEA funds to help low- to moderate-income families and individuals buy a home in Arizona, California, Nevada, and other states where they do business. With these funds, the number of units that will be subsidized increased 30% from the prior year. Three members were new participants, and credit unions increased their participation in the set-aside programs.

The WISH program, targeted to families and individuals who are ready to make the transition from renting to owning, taps the desires of a hopeful workforce. The IDEA program, directed at homebuyers who have been saving for the purchase of their first home through an Individual Development Account or participating in their local housing authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency homeownership program or a lease-to-own program administered by a nonprofit or government entity, has been very successful at helping low-income people develop financial skills and build assets, and then to achieve the self-sufficiency that comes with homeownership.

Since 2000, the Bank has funded over $65 million in WISH and IDEA matching grants, helping more than 5,000 households achieve the goal of owning a home.

Credit Programs: Lending Support for Housing and Economic Development
The Bank’s Community Investment Cash Advance (CICA) programs offer Bank members a lower-cost source of funds they can lend for affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization, and economic development activities that benefit low- to moderate-income communities.
In 2014, as the Bank continued to encourage members to take advantage of these lower cost funds to support local economies and facilitate homeownership for lower-income households, member CICA activity continued to rise, as members used:

AHEAD: Giving a Boost to Innovative Initiatives

Since the inception of the AHEAD Program in 2004, the Bank has awarded over $7 million in AHEAD grants to support 267 projects that create or preserve jobs, facilitate improvements to public or private infrastructure, or deliver social services, training or educational programs, or other services and programs that benefit low- and moderate-income communities. Grant funds can be used to finance a variety of start-up costs that are often difficult for a nonprofit to finance, and demand for funding increases year after year. In 2014, the Bank reviewed 191 applications requesting nearly $9 million before selecting 36 AHEAD grant winners.

With this year’s AHEAD grants, the Bank will be providing, though its members, a critical early boost to a diverse array of important initiatives, including projects aimed at:

By offering Bank members an opportunity to support innovative approaches to meeting specific needs in the communities they serve, the AHEAD Program also helps strengthen relationships between members and nonprofit groups that have special expertise in economic and community development. In 2014, for example:

Reaching Out: Community Engagement, Training, and Technical Assistance

Effective engagement with policymakers and public officials, government agencies, affordable housing advocates, and a variety of community and economic development organizations, is more critical than ever to furthering the Bank’s mission and meeting its Community Lending Plan goals.

In 2014, the Bank participated in a wide variety of public and industry events and affordable housing and community development conferences, forums, and meetings, including:

To help Bank members and their partners understand and use the Bank’s community programs, in 2014 Community Investment staff conducted:

In Closing

On behalf of the Advisory Council, I would like to thank the Bank’s management and staff, the Bank’s members and community partners, and especially the Bank’s Board of Directors, for their exceptionally active and extremely valuable engagement with us over the past year.

In closing out 2014, the Advisory Council bids farewell to four long-serving and valued members. We thank Forescee Hogan-Rowles, President and Chief Executive Officer, RISE Financial Pathways; John M. Ramirez, Vice President, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC); Dianne J. Spaulding, Executive Director, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California; and especially our Chair for the past two years, James Feltham, President, Neighborhood Housing Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona, for their service. Each provided invaluable counsel during their tenures, and their presence will be missed at our Advisory Council table.

We warmly welcome to the table four new members: Stephen L. Hastings, Director of Real Estate Services, Foundation for Senior Living; Martin Quintana, Chief Economic Development Officer, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.; Douglas Shoemaker, President, Mercy Housing California; and Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, Executive Director, West Angeles Community Development Corporation. Their wealth of collective experience and individual perspectives will help us ensure that the Bank’s AHP and other community programs continue to have a vital role in the success and effectiveness of affordable housing and community development efforts across the district and across the country.

Finally, I am pleased to report the Bank has allocated $44 million in funding for the competitive AHP and $9 million for the WISH and IDEA programs for 2015, funds that will help make the cost of having a home a little less burdensome for many hard-working families, and some of the most vulnerable among us.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Ralph Lippman
Chair
Affordable Housing Advisory Council

 

 
Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco
The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco delivers low-cost funding and other services that help member financial institutions make home mortgage loans to people of all income levels and provide credit that supports neighborhoods and communities. The Bank also funds community programs that help members create affordable housing and promote community economic development. The Bank’s members are headquartered in Arizona, California, and Nevada and include commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions.