Affordable Housing Connections

April 2022 Newsletter

Introducing Bryan Hartman, AHC’s New Staff Member

Bryan Hartman recently joined AHC as Manager, Housing Assistance Services. In this role, he will assist AHC in its many services and new initiatives to the affordable housing industry and related governmental agencies. Bryan brings to AHC important knowledge of the affordable housing industry, including working with funders such as HUD and Minnesota Housing and the owners/managers of affordable rental units.


Prior to joining AHC, Bryan worked for the City of Bloomington Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) for over twenty years. As the Program Manager for the City of Bloomington’s HRA, his work included managing a 551 Housing Choice Voucher Program and the City’s CDBG Program. He also managed the HRA rental units and he assisted in the City’s redevelopment efforts. Prior to his work with Bloomington, he served as Director of Housing Assistance for the Dakota County CDA supervising 17 staff for a program of over 2,000 Housing Choice Vouchers and the state-funded Bridges Program. Bryan holds a BS in Housing Studies from the University of Minnesota. He is currently the Immediate Past President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and serves on their Board of Directors. Bryan also served on the Board of Directors of AHC for over 17 years before joining the organization as a full-time staff member.

Shannon Guernsey: Saying Farewell to a Board Member Extraordinaire!

Written by Sarah Thornton


Shannon served as an AHC board member for 9 years, representing the Minnesota chapter of NAHRO where she is its Executive Director. Shannon passionately encouraged programs to address housing needs in Greater Minnesota in addition to the Twin Cities Metro area. Although she did love her time and accomplishments on the Board, it was difficult to juggle conflicting meeting schedules through the pandemic.

Shannon missed face-to-face time with other Board members in Task Force and Board meetings. Nonetheless, she powered through and is very glad to see the Leadership in Affordable Housing Certificate Course finally was established with Hamline University in 2021. Shannon was an advocate for the Certificate and proud of her contributions that helped bring the course to life, including the Board’s establishment of the Sherrill Oman Scholarship fund. Shannon’s first term on the Board overlapped with Sherry’s final term, so they worked together on strategic initiatives, including the 25th Anniversary Celebration of AHC’s incorporation in 2015. Shannon was a key member of AHC’s Policies Task Force and was an outstanding emcee for the 2018 AHC Annual Industry Seminar and a featured speaker at the first virtual AHC Annual Industry Seminar in 2020.

For Shannon,

There are two key factors that go into being an active contributing member of the AHC board. First and foremost is engagement of the heart. Being in this line of work can be emotional at times because the need for safe affordable housing is so great. Because AHC is a nonprofit organization, the Board oversees the Mission. The Board makes sure there is organizational stability to ensure continuity of services that AHC’s expert staff provides to cities, housing authorities and owners, managers, and the residents served by affordable housing. The second is the intellectual challenge of the programs AHC administers. This line of work is a complex industry to manage. From legal issues, finances, policy, program administration, and so many more things that come up, Board members really need perseverance.


Shannon, your leadership, and enthusiasm will be missed but we know you will persevere and continue to be successful with everything you do!

April is Fair Housing Month!

This month, we celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark civil rights law signed by President Johnson on April 11, 1968, that made discrimination in housing transactions unlawful. The purpose of the Act was to prevent housing discrimination and to eliminate the patterns of racial and ethnic segregation that have long existed in our neighborhoods and communities across the United States. Fifty-four years later, the Fair Housing Act still serves as a powerful tool for ensuring equality, equity, and dignity in our housing system. It guarantees that all people have the right to obtain housing of their choice, regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, and familial status. Rooting out discrimination demands more than just words.

2022 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA)

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation passed by Congress as part of the Omnibus appropriations package.


Lawmakers tucked the VAWA bill into a massive, fast-moving $1.5 trillion government spending package that sailed through the House and Senate. As a result, people may not have noticed that Congress just renewed the lifesaving law too. The Senate bill improves the implementation and enforcement of current VAWA housing protections and increases access to emergency and transitional housing.

One Level Deeper:

The original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), signed in 1994 by then-President Bill Clinton, was a landmark moment in the federal government more aggressively penalizing those convicted of domestic abuse as well as providing legal protections for those who accuse their partners of intimate violence. VAWA had been reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013.


With this latest iteration, the senators announced they had reached an agreement on the reauthorization of VAWA after months of negotiations. It was noted that neither party achieved everything it wanted in the reauthorization but praised the compromise as a step toward better addressing the needs of domestic abuse survivors.


For the past 20 years, every VAWA reauthorization bill has improved upon the protections in the prior version of the law, in response to survivors’ emerging needs and our deeper understanding of the systems changes necessary to promote survivor safety, security, justice, and healing. The last VAWA reauthorization was in 2013, nearly a decade ago. Survivors’ needs continue to evolve, and those needs have only grown more urgent as the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a dramatic increase in the incidents of domestic violence.

What You Need To Know:

The Violence Against Women Act protects both children and adult victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.


VAWA protections are currently extended to residents living in properties with HUD Multifamily Housing contracts (MFH), HUD Public and Indian Housing contracts (PIH), the Low-income Housing Tax Credits funding (LIHTC), USDA Rural Development 515 contracts, HOPWA programs, and the HOME program.


Title VI – Safe Homes for Victims would expand VAWA’s applicability to the Housing Trust Fund, the Rural Housing Voucher Program, and housing programs for homeless veterans.


A copy of the 335-page bill is here

AHC’s Monitoring Process for 2022

Affordable Housing Connections (AHC) made a few updates this year to how the compliance monitoring workload is distributed. These modifications were saved and uploaded into your Management Company’s correspondence folder for each project applicable.


Jen Arens is the main contact for all new LIHTC projects not yet Placed In Service (PIS) and all first-year projects. Naomi Hrncir is the main contact for all Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Projects. Amanda Hitzeman is the main contact for the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) Edina, Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), the Sponsor Initiated Affordability (SIA) Program, and the Minneapolis Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Program.


Until further notice, we will continue to complete tenant file reviews (TFRs) at AHC’s office. Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) inspections will be conducted virtually via Microsoft Teams. If you are slated to have a physical inspection this year, further details will be provided in your Site Visit Notice.


Should you have compliance or monitoring questions regarding your property’s affordable program, please contact us at AHC@ahcinc.net and you will be redirected to your assigned contact lead.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Reporting Due April 15th

Friendly reminder to those of you with Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding, the annual Owner's Certificate of Program Compliance and Quarter 1 - 2022 NSP Occupancy Report are due Friday, April 15th, 2022.


The "NSP Submission Requirement" letter and an updated "2022 NSP Occupancy Report" can be located in your secure NSP project folder in Egnyte. The "NSP Submission Requirement" letter contains your 2022 year deadlines and reminders for quarterly reporting and tenant file submissions.


The annual submission of NSP's Owner’s Certification of Program Compliance and Utility Allowance Source Documents are also due with the Quarter 1 occupancy report.


Questions can be directed to Amanda Hitzeman.

Housing Support Rental Assistance Calculation Worksheet

Minnesota Housing developed a form called Housing Support and Rental Assistance Calculation Worksheet, along with guidance, to use for households receiving Housing Support (formerly known as Group Residential Housing or GRH). The worksheet will help identify whether the Housing Support received by the household should be included as income, and when or if, the Housing Support should be treated as rent assistance. The guidance provided by Minnesota Housing includes two examples of calculations and a sample copy of a Housing Support acceptance letter.


AHC suggests completing this worksheet for all households receiving Housing Support to check for correct rent calculations and public assistance income, especially if you have been cited for rent noncompliance. If the calculation proves out, that the Housing Support cannot be considered rent assistance, rent must be adjusted to comply with applicable rent limits. A copy of the completed form should be retained in the tenant file.

Housing Support Rental Assistance Calculation Worksheet

Minnesota Housing published in the August 12, 2021, issue of Multifamily Housing eNews: "New Housing Support Rental Assistance Calculation Worksheet"


Housing Support (formerly known as Group Residential Housing or GRH) is a financial resource that helps many Long Term Homeless and High Priority Homeless households in paying their rent and other housing-related expenses. Recently there has been some confusion about its treatment as rental assistance and some owners have been cited for rent noncompliance.


To address this, Minnesota Housing developed a Housing Support Rental Assistance Calculation Worksheet along with guidance on when Housing Support can and cannot be treated as rental assistance. The worksheet and guidance also help identify whether Housing Support is included as public assistance when calculating gross annual household income for programs that use the Section 8 definition of income. Two example calculations and a sample copy of a Housing Support acceptance letter are also included.


Minnesota Housing recommends you complete a worksheet for all-new Housing Support move-ins, and for your existing Housing Support units, to check for correct calculations of tenant-paid rent, rental assistance from Housing Support, and income from public assistance, particularly if you have been cited for a rent violation. You must adjust the rent to comply with rent limits if Housing Support is not considered rental assistance. Please retain a copy of the form in the tenant file (only the first page, which contains the actual calculations; it is not necessary to retain the examples and other guidance).

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Reporting Guidance: AHC vs. Minnesota Housing

Recently AHC received communication from an owner concerning a difference in reporting expectations, or, rather, a difference in interpretation surrounding one of the questions on the Owner’s Certificate of Continuing LIHTC Program Compliance. There is no difference in forms. There is not a difference even in the words used on the annual certification. The only difference is how each agency interprets the statement. Let us look at this communication and we will clarify the expectations of both AHC and MN Housing Agency.

"Hi, I’d like some clarification about item #8 on the Owner’s Certification of Continuing Program Compliance (and item #7 on the Owner’s Cert during Extended Use). Both items are statements about a project’s units being suitable for occupancy. For the owner to certify that yes (true), all units were suitable for occupancy during the reporting year, that would mean that all units passed inspection and no code violations were issued, right?


If that’s true, then if all units didn’t pass inspection and/or a code violation was issued during the reporting year, the owner would have to certify that no (false), not all units passed inspection and/or code violations were issued. And if the owner certifies that not all units passed inspection and/or code violations were issued, the owner must also explain and support documentation of the violations and correction, right?"

Both AHC’s and MN Housing’s answer to your first question is Yes. If all units passed inspection and no violations were issued, the Owner can certify that the statement is "True."


The answer to your second question is also Yes, but… Where AHC and MN Housing part ways, so to speak, is what “suitable for occupancy” means.


Before going further, it should be clarified that AHC acts as the monitoring agent for the Suballocators, therefore AHC has an obligation to abide by the expectations of the Suballocator. And while it is true that generally, the Suballocators follow MN Housing’s lead for reporting, it is not always the case.


For the Owner to certify False to this statement, MN Housing has the following expectations:


  • HQS inspections for Section 8 voucher holders do not need to be reported. Meaning if the only inspections that failed were for Section 8 HCV holders, the owner can certify True to this statement.
  • If cited deficiencies were corrected within the same month in which the citation/notification was issued, they do not need to be reported. Again, this means that if cited deficiencies were corrected within the same month of issuance, the owner can certify True to this statement.
  • Any other inspection resulting in failed units or violations issued must be reported and the Owner must provide corrective actions taken, noting that further documentation is available upon request. This means any inspection other than a Section 8 HCV inspection, or any inspection in which corrections were made outside of the month of issuance, must be reported.


The Suballocator’s expectations are the same as MN Housing’s for bullet points 1 and 3. However, for bullet point 2, the Suballocators still want Owners to report failed units and/or violations (along with supporting documentation) even if the corrections were made within the same month of issuance.


So, if your tax credit project reports to AHC (i.e., a Suballocator) please include citations or failed inspections even if the cited deficiencies were corrected within the same month in which the citation/notification was issued.

Compliance Clarification - HELP!

Question:

We have just started to manage our first tax credit site. The site owner told us that we need to keep the site in compliance with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program for only 10 years because that’s how many years the owner claims its tax credits. But we thought that the compliance period lasts 15 years. Is the owner correct?

Answer:

Yes and No. While it is true that owners of tax credit projects claim the tax credits over a period of 10 years, projects assisted with tax credits must meet tax credit requirements and remain in compliance for 15 years.


The 10 years during which the owner claims credits is called the credit period. The 15 years during which the project must remain compliant is called the compliance period. The credit period begins the year the project is Placed In Service (PIS), or the following year if the owner chooses to defer and begin claiming credits the following year. The Placed In Service date and the first year credits are claimed can be found on the project’s 8609s. Remember, there may be multiple 8609s.


The compliance period starts the same year the credit period does but lasts 5 years longer. If the tax credit project has more than one building, and those buildings have different PIS dates, the compliance period ends 15 years after the last building is Placed In Service.

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Extended Use Period (EUP)

Also, if the tax credits were allocated after 1989, the project is subject to an Extended Use Period (EUP). EUPs generally last for an additional 15 years after the compliance period, however, the tax credit allocator can impose a longer EUP. During the EUP, the project must comply with the restrictions that appear in the project’s Land Use Regulatory Agreement (LURA) and not necessarily the tax credit requirements. For example, the requirement to certify student status is not required during the EUP, unless the LURA specifically states it must.


If noncompliance is found during the extended use period, the owner’s tax credits aren’t jeopardized because the owner has already claimed them, and the 15-year compliance period is over. In other words, if the project isn’t in compliance with its LURA restrictions, the allocating agency may take legal action against the owner but since the 15-year compliance period has ended, the IRS can’t recapture the credits.

Compliance Checkup

Stay current on your compliance understanding - FAIR HOUSING EDITION!

Question 1

Sam has been diagnosed with severe depression and is disabled as defined by the Fair Housing Act. His doctor prescribes Sam a dog to help alleviate some of his symptoms. Sam asks his landlord if he can have a dog as a reasonable accommodation for his disability. His landlord says yes but tells Sam he'll need to pay a $250 pet deposit and must provide proof that the animal is trained.


(A.) True

(B.) False

Question 2

Tasha and Steve have two children and are looking to rent a two-bedroom apartment at ABC Apartments. The manager tells them that they cannot rent there because ABC Apartments is for adults only. Tasha and Steve see 20 and 30-year-olds living at the complex, but they see no children. Can the manager refuse to rent to them because they have children?


(A.) Yes

(B.) No

Question 3

An apartment manager uses his mobile phone to record residents enjoying themselves during a community pool party. Although the party is attended by a diverse mix of residents, including those with walkers, the manager focuses exclusively on the young white residents. Now he wants to upload the video to the community’s Instagram page. Is this a good idea?


(A.) Yes, because Instagram content is considered social networking versus advertising


(B.) No, because the video lacks diversity. The video expresses a preference for whites without disabilities


(C.) Yes, because these are real residents and not models hired to create a marketing video

Answers to Compliance Checkup

Question 1: Answer (B)

Response: No, Sam's landlord did not handle his request correctly. The landlord cannot charge Sam a pet deposit for his animal because it is not a pet, but rather a service/companion animal required for disability. Further, the landlord cannot ask for proof that the animal is trained. Lastly, service/companion animals do not have to be just dogs; they can also be other animals, such as cats or ferrets.


Question 2: Answer (B)

Response: Unless ABC Apartments meets the criteria for senior housing (55+ and 62+) then the manager cannot refuse to rent to a family solely because they have children. Tasha and Steve could have a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.


Question 3: Answer (B)

Reason: Beware of Discriminatory Use of Human Models


It’s okay to use human models in your advertisement. It is not okay to use human models if they send veiled messages about exclusiveness because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin or any protected characteristics of the people who should and shouldn't rent from you. The manager’s video shows only residents who are white and appear able-bodied. This video suggests the community doesn't welcome non-white and/or disabled residents. The community should think of adding additional images of other attendees, including those of other races and those with visible disabilities, or a disclaimer stating that the community does not discriminate based on race, color, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state, or local law before sharing this advertisement. Thus, b. is the right answer.

Second Year Leadership Certificate Offering - Going Strong!

Ten students enrolled in the Leadership in Affordable Housing Certificate (LAHC) program at Hamline University are completing Course 1 in April. This is the second year the Certificate has been offered. Course 2 will begin in August with award of the Certificate in December 2022 for all who complete the academic requirements for both courses.


Co-instructors Barbara Dacy, Executive Director, Ottertail County HRA, and Lyn Burton, Executive Director, AHC-ELC, say they are pleased that teaching by Zoom has enabled wider geographic diversity Nearly half of the cohort resides in Greater Minnesota and one student is Zooming in from Chattanooga, TN. Financial aid scholarship and BIPOC targets are being met. Several students already have earned graduate degrees and one is using the eight (8) credits earned for completing both Course 1 and Course 2 as electives in his PhD program in Public Administration.


Guest speakers in Course 1 have included Libby Starling, Director of Community Development and Engagement, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; Jill Keppers, Executive Director, Duluth HRA; Sue Speakman-Gomez, Housing Link; and, Emily Carr, Supervisor-Residential Finance, Minneapolis CPED.

Affordable Housing Connections

Our Mission


We deliver monitoring and consulting services to governmental organizations, property owners and managers; and education to individuals who aspire to leadership in the affordable housing industry. Our aim is to protect the investment of private equity and tax dollars and to ensure continued quality affordable rental housing.