Ruth Deyoe puts a human face on affordable housing finance.
Her home is a two-bedroom apartment in Waverly Estates, a new senior housing complex in Ponca City.
“I have a walker and I need smooth sidewalks,” she said. “That was one of the main reasons I moved here.”
Hers is just one of thousands of real-life stories behind often obscure affordable housing tax credits. Read more of her story on the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency’s blog: tinyurl.com/OHFA-Waverly.
So let’s get that straight up front: Affordable housing is about housing second, people first.
In Oklahoma, tax credits got a little more personal for all of us during the last session of the Legislature. Lawmakers passed the Oklahoma Affordable Housing Act to create a state version of the federal Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program.
It almost got lost in the end-of-session frenzy of bill passing and news reporting.
It’s important. It means more funding for the development of affordable rental housing.
“The high demand for affordable housing built specifically for working low-income families and the elderly continues to exceed the housing stock available in Oklahoma, especially in rural areas,” said Dennis Shockley, executive director for OHFA, which will administer the program.
OHFA already administers the federal Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program for the state, an average of 1,100 units each year.
Demand is high
“We have received applications for five times that many,” Shockley said. “The state housing tax credit will go help meet this demand.”
State tax credits will supplement the federal credits, raising development capital, which reduces financing costs, which reduces operating expenses, with it all passed along in reduced rents on housing for people with low incomes. To qualify for tax credits, a project must both restrict rents and rent to people whose incomes don’t exceed income limits. The state credits will be capped at $4 million per year and operate as a 10-year credit. A nine-member committee will review the program after five years.
The human impact of this kind of thing can get lost in raw data like this, for example, from OHFA’s May board meeting, where federal tax credits were reserved:
• $720,000 for Dale Housing Partners LP to build and rehabilitate 45 apartments to be known as Dale Apartments in Guymon.
• $515,799 for Cottage Park McAlester to build 40 units (20 duplexes) for the elderly to be known as Cottage Park McAlester in McAlester.
• $412,737 for Rural Housing of Muldrow LP to buy and rehabilitate 72 apartments to be known as GardenWalk of Muldrow in Muldrow.
If you see something like that and it numbs your mind, remember Ruth, in Ponca City. Maybe it’ll warm your heart.