COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Housing Development Commission approved a series of low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) projects around the state that will create 1,638 new units for seniors, low income individuals, and those with special needs.
The MHDC opens for two rounds of submissions for LIHTC funds every year. A total of 35 developments in Kansas City, St. Louis and across the state were approved. Jeffery Bay, Chairman of the Commission, said he was pleased that this year’s Round 1 approval numbers were almost identical to last year’s.
“It’s very good to see that we’re on track with last year, that we’re maintaining what seems to be a consistent level of service,” Bay said.
The commission approved a total of $30.6 million in LIHTC tax credits for the 35 developments approved today. Nearly $12 million of that will go toward facilities where at least 10 percent of the units are set aside for those with special needs. Internal Director of Rental Production, Frank Quagraine, said MHDC was easily exceeding its goal of rewarding to projects with a focus on special needs.
“As you can see, we are exceeding our goal of 33 percent of all funds going toward those with special needs,” Quagraine said. “We’ve been conscious of that, and we endeavor to meet our geographic needs.”
The MHDC also has some rigorous internal policies on dispersing funds evenly across the state. 19 percent of LITHC awards go to Kansas City while 33 percent to the St. Louis region and the remaining 48 percent are spent around the state.
More than 60 developments were not approved for LIHTC funds by the MHDC. An MHDC official told The Missouri Times that any developer whose submission is rejected is automatically invited to meet with MHDC staff to work on improving or enhancing its application.
A few commission members like Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and William Miller expressed concern that LIHTC projects in St. Louis were too concentrated in small areas.
“When several of these developments in one community go up, it can impact those local school districts,” Miller said. “A high concentration of these projects or Section 8 housing, it can have a negative impact on the community.”
Kinder said he agreed with Miller’s thoughts, and said the commission should even consider a special meeting to invite local school officials and law enforcement to discuss the impact multiple LIHTC developments can have in one region.
“The evidence is mounting that concentrating all these projects into these small neighborhoods has a deleterious impact on local resources and communities,” Kinder said.
The MHDC also approved the hiring of a new Tax Credit Amdministrator, allocated funds for the Missouri Housing Trust Fund, and approved an RFP for the St. Louis MHDC office as it seeks a new space.
The St. Louis office is more than 25 years old and the location, building and overall layout needs to be examined, commissioners said. The lease on the St. Louis office space will expire in June of 2016, and the commission approved MHDC staff to seek a real estate broker to first examine their precise space needs, and then to accommodate the purchase of a new space.
The next regular commission meeting will be on February 27 in Columbia, Mo.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.