COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) met Thursday Sept. 18 in an effort to appropriately allocate funds for affording housing and emergency relief in Missouri, as well as looking at a variety of ways to optimize funding and return for both the projects and the commission.
Both opening resolutions, No. 1041 and No. 1042, were passed without opposition. Resolution 1041 will authorize the issuance of single family mortgage refunding revenue refunding bonds — with the amount not to exceed $50 million — in an effort to improve returns on four single family bond series that were completed by the MHDC in 2005.
“We continue to monitor our single family bond program for opportunities to improve economics for the commission and the current market offers this opportunity with respect to our 2005 single family mortgage revenue bonds,” said Director of Finance Marilyn Lappin during the meeting.
Resolution No. 1042 authorizes the issuance of multifamily housing refunding revenue bonds, but not to exceed $15 million
“These bonds will refund bonds issued in 2004 and 2005 that financed four FHA risk-share loans and they currently have mortgage rates that rank from 6.00 percent and to 6.25 percent,” Lappin said. “The proceeds would redeem the prior bonds and lower our cost of borrowing, and we would pass along those savings in the form of lower mortgage rates for these projects. It’s not to make excess return for the commission, per say, but the achieve the affordable housing mission”.
Sarah Parsons, Community Initiatives Manager, introduced the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) decision to sub-contract the Emergency Solutions Grant funds to MHDC for the third year. Parsons stated the staff recommendation was to allocate funds by the Missouri Continua of Care. The award amount from the state is $2.36 million, and the MHDC supplemental funds coming in at 3.3 million, which is available for individuals or communities who are eligible and apply for the funds.
Eligible grant activities include rapid re-housing, homeless prevention, street outreach and emergency shelters. The funds are traditionally allocated geographically based on the quality of applications received and the applicant’s ability to meet certain criteria. The total amount to be funded by geographic allocation is $3,307,299.92.
“The allocation distribution percentage is based upon historical information and historical activity of this kind of funding,” said Chairman Jeff Bay.
MHDC approved the staff’s recommendation to both approve the 2015 Emergency Solution Grant (ESG) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and approve the 2015 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Allocation Plan.
An ongoing project being carried out by Dr. Mark Tranel of the University of Missouri St. Louis and a staff composed of professionals from three different units within the University of Missouri: the Institute of Public Policy, Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES) is set to assess statewide housing needs through series of criteria including population and social data, economic conditions, current and previous housing profiles and the current status of affordable housing existing in Missouri counties.
“We want to understand the factors that are affecting employment, particularly wages and basic housing profiles, whats the structure of housing in Missouri relative to rental housing, and so forth” said Dr. Tranel during his presentation to the MHDC. “In particular we will look at where are the gaps: gaps relative to geography, whether there are particular areas of the state with a greater need for affordable housing based on certain sub-populations, for which there may be greater need.”
Once the findings are completed in early 2015, they will be compiled into reports summarizes the conclusions for review by the MHDC, but will also be available on an accessible and interactive website referred to as “Community Commons” which will include data across all 115 counties.
THe MHDC also reviewed an Asset Management Update. In the last month, four properties have been moved off of the MHDC “watch list”, while three more have been added to it. One of which is River Bend Apartments in Ray County, which experienced substantial tornado damage back in May. In order for a property to be considered for the “watch list” the MHDC assesses.
Currently the insurance company is only pushing to reconstruct 12 of the 20 devastated units. The MHDC will continue working with HUD to determine whether the apartments can be classified as a “troubled property” whereas the unit would then only be rebuilt as 12 unit property.
The next MHDC regular commission meeting will take place Friday, Dec. 5th at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Columbia, Mo.
Kelsey Wingo is the multimedia reporter for The Missouri Times, and a senior at the University of Missouri. She will be graduating in Spring 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Readers can contact Kelsey by calling her cell phone at 417-343-0508 or via Twitter @kels_wingo.