Winter 2016, Volume 28
We released our 41st Annual Report to the Legislature on November 1st, and we invite you to take a look at this snapshot of our very successful Fiscal Year 2015-16. The report also includes our statistical supplement, audited financial statement of the Housing Finance Fund, and biennial report of the California Housing Loan Insurance Fund.
Just in time for Veterans Day, the California Housing Finance Agency made revisions to its multifamily lending and subsidy policy to help more California veterans find an affordable place to call home.
On any given night, more than 11,000 veterans are at risk of housing instability and homelessness in California. Instability and homelessness among female veterans and their families are also on the rise.
As a result of the policy revisions, CalHFA will give underwriting and processing priority to CalHFA-financed multifamily developments that include affordable units restricted for veterans. Additionally, developments receiving CalHFA subsidy funding will be required to provide a preference to men and women who have served in any branch of the United States Military.
CalHFA has made these revisions to ensure that affordable housing programs are adequately serving the broadest range of California's veterans and complementing the current Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program (VHHP). Established as a collaboration between the California Department of Veteran Affairs, California Department of Housing and Community Development and CalHFA, the VHHP program helps veterans and their families experiencing homelessness find and maintain housing stability.
"We are proud to support those that have served our country, and our collaboration with HCD and CalVet in implementing the VHHP program has allowed us to do just that," said CalHFA Executive Director, Tia Boatman Patterson. "We also recognize the need, however, to ensure that we are serving the broadest range of veterans possible, and that includes taking extra measures to serve rural communities and female veterans, too."
The VHHP program will continue to focus on chronically homeless veterans, while CalHFA financing will be available to finance affordable housing for women veterans and their families, or veterans living in California's rural communities. In comparison to those that live in urban communities, rural veterans have different needs and often fewer housing options, while female veterans and their children are increasingly comprising more of the homeless veteran demographic throughout the nation.
Because CalHFA financing is non-competitive, developments that serve these special veteran populations will not need to compete or wait for a VHHP Notice of Funding Ability (NOFA); instead, they'll have access to low-cost financing when the project is ready."By implementing these important policy changes, we are encouraging both developers and property managers to house more veterans, especially the underserved rural and women populations," said Patterson.
The Single Family Lending Support Team has been instrumental in making the intake of loan documents a fully electronic process. For the first time in CalHFA's 41-year history, we are no longer using paper loan files, either on the back or front end. With the team's expertise and countless tests for the new system, the team developed all of the specifications/guidelines and procedures to make sure the system complied with government privacy regulations while still being responsive to the needs of our private sector lending partners.
This new electronic system has already made a significant impact on our efficiency with more organized file management, saving staff time and storage costs. We'll continue to find ways to improve, while maintaining an excellent level of customer service.
CalHFA has announced changes to its Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program, allowing more K-12 public school employees—including administrators and support staff such as aides, bus drivers, food services workers and janitors—to receive as much as $15,000 in down payment assistance. The program includes educators at public charter schools, school district offices and county continuation schools.
"California teachers are committed to helping our students succeed, and we are just as focused on helping them become homeowners to build a solid foundation for their futures," said CalHFA Executive Director Tia Boatman Patterson. "Unfortunately, few teachers, especially those at the beginning of their careers, can afford to buy a home in the state. The Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program helps with the down payment and opens the door for more teachers to become homeowners."
In California, the average starting salary for an elementary school teacher is less than $42,000 per year. The average annual salary is $69,000 for all public school teachers, according to industry reports.
"The Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program provides a vitally important service to the dedicated school employees who serve our students each and every day," said California School Boards Association (CSBA) President Chris Ungar. "By helping these public servants obtain an important piece of the American Dream, homeownership, we are addressing one of the major contributors to attrition from the profession and stabilizing schools and communities in the process."
Under the Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program, public school employees in California's high-cost counties—including those in the Bay Area and Southern California—could qualify for a maximum of $15,000 or 3.5 percent of the sales price or appraised value, whichever is greater. A complete list of the 35 high-cost counties is available here. The program greatly benefits educators buying homes for less than $430,000 in those counties.
In non-high-cost counties—such as Fresno, Kern and Imperial—public school educators could qualify for up to $7,500 or 3.5% of the sales price or appraised value, whichever is greater. The program especially helps educators buying homes for less than $215,000, still a possibility in some of the inland counties of Central and Northern California.
Educators must meet county-by-county income limits for the program, which are based on the number of people living in the home. For example, the income limits for a family of four using a CalHFA FHA first mortgage are $90,700 in Los Angeles County, $150,750 in San Mateo County, and $106,500 in Sacramento County."We urge teachers to do their homework and see how much assistance they can receive by combining our programs," said CalHFA's Boatman Patterson. "I'm certain they will give CalHFA an 'A' in making homeownership a possibility for public school employees."
Fund Your Development's Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Solar PV Installations with New Cap-and-Trade Program!
Affordable rental buildings are diverse and have varying energy and water retrofit needs and opportunities. While the benefits of upgrading your portfolio may seem clear, finding ways to pay for these upgrades while maximizing utility rebates and other sources often presents a challenge for most owners.
California's new Low Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) offers financial incentives to cover a significant portion of energy efficiency and solar installation costs for eligible projects. This program brings together energy efficiency, solar hot water, and solar photovoltaic (PV) measures in one program to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Owners can use the program for stand-alone retrofits or at the time of a refinancing. LIWP funds can also be leveraged with other available sources (i.e. utility incentive and rebate programs). LIWP for large multifamily incentives may cover a significant portion of energy efficiency upgrades, and 50%-100% of solar installations. The program also provides technical assistance every step of the way.
Please visit the program's website at camultifamilyenergyefficiency.org
Families living at the 76-unit Virginia Terrace Apartments in Barstow are enjoying their freshly transformed homes made possible by the CalHFA Acquisition and Rehabilitation Loan Program. The complex underwent substantial renovations including new roofing, solar installations, unit remodeling, exterior and grounds upgrades. These homes are now more energy efficient and accessible for residents with disabilities.
Virginia Terrace is also close to amenities such as healthcare, shopping, schools, and public transit.
CalHFA provided a financing package that included a $5.6 million rehabilitation loan and a $4.16 million permanent loan to preserve affordable rents on the apartments for the next 40 years.
"As a lender of purpose, CalHFA dedicated itself to assisting the developer, who is in turn committed to keeping Virginia Terrace affordable for the low-income families who live there," said CalHFA's Executive Director Tia Boatman Patterson. "We are working to create financing solutions that make it possible for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in California."
The borrower, Steps Forward Communities - Virginia Terrace, used the CalHFA financing in conjunction with Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
The California legislature passed, and Governor Brown signed two bills that had important consequences for CalHFA.
AB723 gives CalHFA more flexibility in determining occupancy rates for low-income and very-low-income households in the developments it finances. This allows CalHFA to align programs with other state housing programs, simplifying the requirements when used together.
SB 837 replaces the position of Director of Mortgage Insurance with a Director of Enterprise Risk Management, a position more relevant to the current business environment. It also combines several existing sources of down payment funds into a single fund, and gives CalHFA more latitude in how to distribute those funds.
Changes like these make it easier for CalHFA to direct our funds to those who need it most, and we appreciate the efforts of the bill sponsors who shepherded these to passage.
Even though news about the housing crisis is off the front page these days, Keep Your Home California continues to help those who are struggling to make their mortgage payments. Read more about their continuing efforts in the latest edition of their newsletter.
CalHFA staff travel thousands of miles every year to help spread the word about our Single Family Lending programs to help first-time homebuyers. Events include everything from district gatherings hosted by local elected officials to conferences attended by thousands of people. If you want to see where we've been and where we're going to be, we've made it easy for you.
That's in addition to the dozens of training sessions for loan officers, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and other professionals. You can always find our schedule for the upcoming month on our website, in addition to webinars and many on-demand training videos. We've also started a series of update videos to keep you informed about what's going on at CalHFA.
For the past 14 years, Ken Giebel has left his mark on CalHFA as the former Director of Marketing and subsequently appointed Director of CalHFA's Single Family Division by Governor Jerry Brown. During his service on the executive team, Mr. Giebel made a substantial impact with his commitment to assisting low and moderate income families by leading Single Family lending to an incredible accomplishment: helping more than 10,000 families purchase their first home in the past three years. With the announcement of his retirement, the CalHFA family is sad to know Ken is departing, but we are grateful for his contributions and know that his work has set the foundation for many years to come. We wish Ken a joyful retirement and thank him for all he has done at CalHFA.