The risks to the continuation of subsidized affordable housing usually come in two forms, conversion of properties out of government programs and into market rate rents, and the decline of properties due to physical or financial deterioration.   Agencies charged with preservation have to deal with these projects as they come up one by one, often in crisis mode.  But what if you could look into the future, and assess the relative risk for various kinds of projects, and plan for that?

That’s the idea behind one aspect of Minnesota’s “Preservation Plus” project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation.  A working group, consisting of Minnesota HousingFamily Housing FundGreater Minnesota Housing Fund, and the Housing Preservation Project (HPP), has been attempting to research and analyze gaps in the preservation safety net over a host of federal housing programs, with an eye toward the next five to ten years.  

The parties have produced a draft report (authored by HPP) which is not yet final, but some preliminary findings are clear.  We tried to assess projects at risk including: owners prepaying mortgages under the HUD sec. 236 program or the Rural Development (RD) Section 515 program, these same mortgages reaching maturity (end of mortgage and end of rent and use restrictions), owners opting out of Project-based Section 8 contracts, the end of RAP and Rent Supplement contracts, Low Income Housing Tax Credit owners opting out at year 15, physically troubled HUD projects, and public housing.  Our preliminary analysis suggests those properties most at risk between now and 2014 amount to 45 projects totaling about 3900 units.

Forearmed with this knowledge, agencies can plan for allocation of resources where they will be most needed.  This report will also be identifying strategies to preserve under various programs, and will highlight where we lack preservation tools to address particular threats so we can attempt to create them.

We expect the final report to be released in the next several months.  In the meantime, the following powerpoint will provide those interested with some preliminary information.