Continuing to Serve You!
It has now been twenty weeks and counting since our workplace disruption here at OCCH, and we see no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic. OCCH remains concerned about the safety and wellbeing of our staff, partners, and the residents and communities we serve, and our thoughts are with all who remain affected by COVID-19. During this time, OCCH has remained highly focused, productive, and ready to serve you. We are pleased to offer our latest update on a variety of important activities and developments here at OCCH at a time when it appears the cessation of federal expanded unemployment insurance payments and the eviction moratorium at the end of July make the future a little more uncertain.
OCCH Board Update
Recently, our OCCH family and the affordable housing industry lost a friend and housing advocate with the passing of Dan Slane, who served on the Board of OCCH for many years – 10 years as Board Chair. His vision and leadership helped define OCCH and without his commitment and contribution over such a long period of time, OCCH would not be the organization it is today. Dan’s relationships with the development and economic communities and his passion for helping those with special needs, those at risk for homelessness, those with extremely low incomes, and those in rural communities has led to the creation of homes for thousands of families and individuals. OCCH was fortunate to benefit from his wisdom, business acumen and guidance and he will be missed.
We would like to announce the new OCCH Board officers, as follows: Susan E. Weaver, Board Chair; Angela Mingo, Vice-Chair; Thomas Loos, Treasurer; and Jeanne Golliher, Secretary.
Our Next Normal
To protect staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19, OCCH largely continues to work remotely. The property management staff at Community Properties of Ohio (CPO) have mostly returned to the work of operations, management and services, albeit with new no-contact protocols or group activities. Asset managers have begun windshield inspections of property exteriors without live contact with site staff or unit interiors. We have embraced new solutions and technology to ensure we stay engaged and connected across the enterprise. We are committed to supporting one another and in turn, providing quality and excellence to you, our partners.
Ohio Equity Fund XXX Is Closed!
We want to express our sincere gratitude to the investors in the recently closed Ohio Equity Fund XXX, which achieved two important milestones: $5B in total equity raised and 50,000 units of affordable housing either created or preserved. During this unprecedented pandemic and economic uncertainty, with the support of our investors, OCCH closed a $302M fund which will have a meaningful impact across our footprint during this critically important time. We are especially grateful for the 10 investors who opted to become ‘impact investors’, resulting in a $1M contribution to Ohio Capital Impact Corporation programs to benefit thousands of residents.
Development and Fund Management News
OCCH has closed 26 transactions for a total of $238.6M in total gross equity; we anticipate an additional 25 closings by year-end. The OCCH Development team continues to work collaboratively with our developer partners to review and work through each deal in our pipeline from pre-development to closing, and construction to lease-up. We are proactively working with our developer partners to assess each project’s ability to proceed with closing by ensuring the construction and lease-up schedules are achievable, building in extra cushion as necessary and evaluating the impact of any delays. In rehab developments, we are reviewing all COVID-19 safety protocols established by the developer, management agent of record, and the general contractor to maintain safe space at occupied properties and the plans for safe resident relocations. We are tracking and encouraging each developer to request an extension for the Placed-In-Service deadline as appropriate. We continue to monitor and assess the strength and liquidity of our partners, track guarantees, and discuss strategies to support our partners and their respective portfolios. The development team provided advisory and application submission assistance on the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati Affordable Housing Program (AHP) applications due July 31st, the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) 9% LIHTC application due August 20th, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) 4%/Bond Gap Financing applications due September 3rd and the OHFA 9% Final applications due September 25th.
With Fund XXX closed and fully subscribed, Fund Management is focused on closings and working with Development to secure a robust Fund XXXI pipeline. We are thrilled to welcome CVS-Aetna to our stable of proprietary investors. We are working to balance what the industry predicts are rising investor yield requirements and lower pricing in the future with developers who have expectations grounded in today’s market.
OHIO CAPITAL FINANCE CORPORATION (OCFC)
OCFC remains a strong and needed resource for affordable housing developers. OCFC has closed over $13M in loans in six transactions in the second quarter and is on target to close another $30M in the third quarter. Our demand remains robust and is expected to increase with the recently announced 2020 Ohio 9% LIHTC awards and with developer partners looking for assistance financing predevelopment costs.
COMMUNITY PROPERTIES OF OHIO (CPO)
CPO continues to focus on operating safely and resourcefully, while serving residents and maintaining the assets. Our Resident Services team remains focused on assisting our families with access to food, PPE, and educational resources, and activities for our CPO children. Over 50 CPO children participated in 8 weeks of a virtual or in person summer camp. In addition, through support in part by a Franklin County Board of Commissioner's Grant, we are implementing a Stable Families Initiative that will include introducing more trauma-informed policies and practices to help CPO families, many of whom have an extensive history with trauma, be more successful maintaining their housing.
OHIO CAPITAL IMPACT CORPORATION (OCIC)
Our philanthropic subsidiary, the Ohio Capital Impact Corporation, has a variety of programs to help our partners and our residents through these uncertain times. OCIC, with the help of our impact investors, has raised critical funds to help residents experiencing hardship due to the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.
Summer Camp: Even though many summer camp programs were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, our partners found creative ways to engage our resident children. Virtual camps, carefully designed socially distanced camps on site, and other solutions provided opportunities for over 500 children.
Resident Impact Emergency Fund: OCIC set up a Resident Impact Emergency Fund with $1 million from OCCH and over $800,000 raised from our investors. The funds are used strategically to help provide rental assistance at the property level to help stabilize families impacted by the crisis and to support other programs designed to help our communities facing this crisis.
Huntington Digital Inclusion Fund: Huntington Bank Community Development Corporation committed $2.5 million in grants over the next five years for flexible dollars to support technology infrastructure and training to further economic mobility through digital access. In this time of virtual learning at home and social isolation, digital connection is more important than ever.
Resident Development Fund: Through a competitive process, OCIC is providing grants to partners for services, training or opportunities for the residents. Examples include job readiness and opportunities for workers, social connection and health opportunities for seniors, or engagement and learning opportunities for youth.
Training and Policy News
OCCH Training Academy
In response to the pandemic, OCCH’s in-person training offerings were suspended early in 2020, and we have purposefully accelerated our efforts to increase our e-learning platform. OCCH is in the process of deploying a series of six new online courses to help management companies directly respond to the pandemic. For example, recently released COVID-related course offerings include the following topics:
• How to show units via a virtual tour;
• Conducting maintenance during a pandemic; and
• Delivering quality services while being socially distant.
OCCH remains highly engaged across the industry in our efforts to influence state and federal policy objectives that support the LIHTC industry. For example, the negotiations with the County Auditors Association of Ohio (CAAO) have continued in or efforts to reform the methodology of real estate tax valuations in Ohio. At the federal level, working with the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition and the Ohio Housing Council, we were successful in getting most of the Ohio Congressional delegation to sign on in bi-partisan support of including LIHTC-related actions in an upcoming COVID-relief package.
We continue to work on relief related to emergency rental assistance, REACC inspections, credit delivery extensions and other circumstances made more difficult by the ongoing pandemic. In addition, we are participating in industry initiatives to better understand and address the intersectionality of housing and racial justice and equity.
The OCCH team has responded exceedingly well to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are eager to keep the critical work we do together moving forward, and we will continue to work tirelessly to meet these challenges with action and expertise.
Stay safe and be well,