NHPF-Authored Articles & Industry Reports

A panel of experts with deep experience in faith-based property development, accounting; tax and real estate law; and city and state protocol engaged in a comprehensive discussion about a faith-based affordable housing blueprint that any institution can put into action. The panel members agreed on best practices for religious institutions and their partners. There are many ways to improve and streamline the process for these kinds of developments during what is a time of uncertainty for tax-law and finance in our country.

The panel discussion was moderated by Charlie Herman , WNYC Radio’s Business & Culture Editor, and included:

Reverend Karim Camara , Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services Mike Greenwald, Partner , Friedman LLP, a leading accounting and advisory firm serving the affordable housing community Brian Hsu , Partner, Goldstein Hall, a full-service real estate law firm with a concentration in affordable housing and community development Nathan Simms , Assistant Commissioner, New Construction Finance at NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development Jamie Smarr , Senior Vice President, The NHP Foundation, a leading builder of quality affordable housing Richard Andrew Smith , President, Temple Builders, LLC a frequent consultant to faith-based leaders Dave Walsh , Senior Vice President of Community Development Banking at JP Morgan Chase, one of the largest affordable housing lenders in the community. The resulting insights, summarized in this paper, can help push faith-based housing forward, creating thousands of much-needed affordable rental units in New York (where the panelists reside) as well as across the country where much of the same type of opportunities exist.

To better enable and increase these affordable housing options, the panel recommended eight basic steps.

1. Identify the mission

The “mission” can vary. For some faith-based leaders, the aim is to sell the property outright and invest the proceeds in other relevant projects. But for most, the mission is to turn available land into service-enriched, affordable housing that serves those in the community— families, veterans, seniors, and others in need. The mission may also include a community center or other gathering place for neighbors. Before some institutions can make those decisions faith-based leaders are advised to listen to the congregation’s desires and develop a well-defined mission statement. Developing a mission statement requires three important initial steps.

1 ) Obtain an accurate valuation of the available land. 2) Determine the buildable square footage—how big can/should you build? 3) Figure out a wish list, what does your organization want?

Putting Faith in Housing: A Primer for All Partners


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