NHPF-Authored Articles & Industry Reports

Affordable Housing News, Spring 2018 More Than a Roof: In An Uncertain Climate, One of Affordable Housing’s Key Players Presses On by Richard F. Burns, President, CEO & Trustee, NHPF

Federal tax reform and fundamental shifts in policy are leading to considerable uncertainty for the agencies, organizations and businesses involved in affordable housing.

The NHP Foundation, a New York- based not-for-profit provider of quality

affordable housing, is responding to these challenges with an unwavering dedication to preserving the availability of affordable housing across the country. This effort has been especially important in the wake of changes at the federal level that came with the passage of tax reform in December. A version of the tax bill brought before the House of Representatives included a provision to eliminate many of the bonds that make affordable housing development possible. “It was a very scary time for affordable housing developers because nearly half of affordable housing production uses tax- exempt bonds,” says Richard F. Burns, President & CEO of The NHP Foundation. “Fortunately, the tax bill that passed included a continuation of these bonds.” With that said, the final bill did not include provisions that would bolster affordable housing development-something that’s much needed in the industry. “Unfortunately, in this bill, there is no special Burns says. “There’s no hidden gem that I’ve been able to find in the bill that would stimulate affordable housing production.” In fact, according to some projections, the affordable housing sector will likely sustain serious losses in the coming years as a direct result of the changes in the tax bill. “It has been estimated that the impact of that will be about 235,000 fewer units of affordable housing production over the next 10 years,” Burns says. Yet, there is still support for affordable housing among some lawmakers. A bill introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Maria Cantwell CD-Washington) proposes a comprehensive expansion of the low Income Housing Tax Credit program. “The proposed measure does a lot of positive things for affordable housing, not the least of which is expanding the number of tax credits that are offered,” Burns says. “With Senator Hatch’s impending retirement, the hope is that we can continue to find strong advocates on both sides of the aisle.” Richard F. Burns

PARTNERING WITH NOT-FOR-PROFITS The foundation currently owns 6,218 units of affordable housing across 40 properties in 16 states and the District of Columbia. It provides housing and services to more than 20,000 residents, including large numbers of senior citizens. The organization is particularly strong in its ability to partner with other developers and socially-focused community entities. “We looked around, and we noticed that there were other not-for- profit institutions lacking a certain expertise and that had a need for what we could offer,” says Burns. In many cases, The NHP Foundation works with churches and religious organizations that have underutilized land. It brings expertise and resources that allow these churches to monetize unused property assets, while providing the community with much-needed housing resources. “We are able to provide several different things, including development expertise and financial strength,” Burns says. “The church is able to monetize a nonproductive asset, and we can provide the community with affordable housing and offer ground floor retail services within the community.” Many of these religious organizations choose to work with The NHP Foundation because of its expertise and its strong commitment to positive values.

“Because we are a not-for-profit, we have a mission and goals that the churches can identify with,” Burns says.

According to Burns, partnering with religious and community organizations requires a strong sense of collaboration and shared goals.


Powered by