How are cities and counties working with affordable housing developers?

Demand for affordable housing gets larger every day, and counties and cities have ‘‘ to fill the gap between low-income housing credit financing and tax-exempt bond financing. For example, we have a true partnership with the county of San Diego. The county stepped in and provided a $3.2 million low-interest loan for the acquisition and rehab of a 136-unit building. We were competing with other developers out there, and when we underwrote the property at the affordable rent, we weren't able to support the purchase price. The county came in, and we were able to cover the difference.

Most municipalities are becoming more aggressive in their pursuit of affordable housing from an economic development standpoint. They're carving out niches for affordable housing ... and they are becoming easier to work with. They're educating themselves about the different methods available to provide affordable housing. As they become more knowledgeable, it's better for all of us.

Kipling Sheppard is president of Wasatch Advantage Group, a Mission Viejo, Calif.-based company that develops and owns affordable housing projects in six Western states.

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