On November 30, 3022, MaineHousing Senior Director of Finance and Lending, Adam Krea, and Director of Development, Mark Wiesendanger, presented at a MEREDA event, discussing new programs at MaineHousing that may be of interest to developers curious about working in the affordable housing field. These programs have proven successful with new development partners due to less stringent funding sources, small project sizes, and more overall flexibility. Below is a recap of their presentation.
MaineHousing is an independent quasi-state agency, and a top mortgage lender and affordable housing lender in the state. It is a $2.1 billion financial institution with a staff of 190+ whose mission is to assist Maine people in obtaining and maintaining affordable housing and services suitable to their housing needs. On an annual basis the agency helps more than 90,000 Maine households and invests more than $300 million in Maine’s economy, most of it from the sale of tax-exempt revenue bonds, private capital generated by the low income housing tax credit, and federal funds.
We believe that quality affordable housing is important because it assists with and/or promotes easier access to safety and health, sustainable employment, family stability and child care, education, transportation and public services, and effective participation and a political voice.
In 2020, we considered many Maine households “cost-burdened,” meaning that they paid more than 30% of their income towards housing. Specifically, there were 88,698 owners (22.3%), and 64,179 renters (46.5%) who were cost-burdened. In 2021, the median home price was $295,000; the income needed to afford the median priced home was $79,201. In 2021, the average-priced home was unaffordable to the average income household in every county, except Aroostook.
Multifamily Development Programs
• LIHTC – Provides equity in the amount of 30% to 70% of eligible costs for new construction units or adaptive reuse of existing properties. Units must be affordable to households making 50% or 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) or less for 45 years. These projects tend to work best with greater scale (20 units +) and in areas that support higher rents for the debt service. Generally requires more knowledgeable and experienced developers with the assistance of knowledgeable architects, attorneys, tax credit syndicators, and management agents. Can be combined with other public financing such as Federal HOME, State HOME, CDBG, and TIFs.
• Supportive Housing Program – Provides developers capital for the creation of housing for persons with specific housing needs, including those who have recently experienced homelessness, at 30% of AMI or less. Affordability is required for 30 years. Developers either need to have expertise in the services provided to tenants or the ability to partner with an entity that can provide those services.
• Recovery Housing Program – Recovery Housing Program (RHP) is a pilot program funded by the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, created to help combat the record numbers of overdoses and deaths from substance abuse. Provides developers funding for transitional housing to cover a period of not more than 24 months or until the individual secures permanent housing, whichever is earlier. All RHP-funded units must serve households at 80% of AMI or less for a minimum of 30 years.
Best programs for new partners
• Rural – Funding for areas and at a project size where traditional LIHTC projects are not generally feasible. 5 to 18 units serving households with incomes up to 80% AMI for 45 years. Far simpler and more flexible than LIHTC. The maximum forgivable loan amount is $100,000 per unit for acquisition rehab projects and $185,000 per unit for adaptive re-use or new construction units. The maximum forgivable loan amount is $1,800,000 per acquisition rehab project and $3,330,000 per new construction or adaptive reuse project. Applicants must accept 5% interest only, 30-year paying debt from MaineHousing if the project cash flow supports paying debt.
• Affordable Homeownership Program (AHOP) – $60-70K per unit to developers for the creation of homes for sale to homebuyers limited to 120% of AMI. Initial sales price is limited to $325,000 in Cumberland, Sagadahoc, and York Counties, and $287,000 in all other counties. Each Affordable Homeownership Unit will be sold with a Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions that will require, among other things, that each subsequent sale of that Affordable Homeownership Unit for a period of 15 years from the initial sale thereof does not exceed 85% of the purchase price limit for the applicable county under MaineHousing’s First Home Loan Program or its successor (“First Home Loan Program”).
Please check website for updates – many programs are currently closed, pending additional funding.
• Ask questions!
• Read the programs’ guides – https://mainehousing.org/programs-services/housing-development
• Find knowledgeable partners – experienced developers/consultants, architects, attorneys, service providers, management companies, general contractors, etc.
• Join relevant industry groups – MEREDA, MAHC, etc.
• Check out the resources on MaineHousing’s website – https://mainehousing.org/
Mark C. Wiesendanger
Director of Development
26 Edison Drive
Augusta, ME 04330
Office: (207) 626-4625
Adam S. Krea
Senior Director of Finance and Lending
26 Edison Drive
Augusta, ME 04330