WI-CARH Spring 2021
Message from Russell Kaney WI-CARH President
Affordable Housing Back in the News
(It Really Never Left)

For those of us working in the affordable housing industry, the circumstances around affordable housing, the economics of affordable housing have never gone away. For the public, the pandemic and health concerns, employment and the general business climate have foreshadowed everything. At this writing, we are not back to normal, if, in fact, the new normal will ever approach what we were used to pre-pandemic. What we do know is that the short-term resources being made available for housing, rental assistance and relief are huge.

It seems that we have passed the worst of the pandemic with a vaccination program in full swing in most if not all states for anyone over 16 years of age. Schools are opening for in-person attendance, children under 16 will be the next target population for vaccination. Spikes and hot spots will continue to be of concern across the country.

Millions of dollars are being provided to states, through state housing authorities or counties/cities for rent relief to both landlords and residents. The key is matching up need and demand with the resource. WI-CARH, representing owners, managers, and industry professionals in Wisconsin, has had the opportunity to take full advantage of existing programs such as Rural Development rental assistance and HUD project-based Section 8 to assist residents in maintaining their households through this pandemic. With thousands of units set aside for seniors, they have not had to worry about their housing payments.

Owners and managers will eventually open up offices and residents will be able to gather, socially, once again. However, all of us will be taking stock of how we can work more efficiently and productively, with safety in mind, going forward.

Existing housing and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure should be at the top of all affordable housing funders in Wisconsin. There is no question that new units, affordable units, are needed especially in rural Wisconsin. The shortage of labor, high cost of building materials and components, make this a challenge for the foreseeable future.  The biggest bang for the buck may be in rehabbing existing units that carry a built-in subsidy. Speaking of subsidy, the USDA fiscal year budget (fiscal year 2022) has been proposed, the first of the Biden administration. The proposals look similar to years past for the RRH 515 program. Three funding stacks that can benefit from the RD budget in the future are additional rental assistance, new construction funding under the 515 program, and a short-term boost to clean up the Multi-family Preservation and Rehabilitation (MPR) waiting list.

Vacant units in RRH 515 complexes may reflect the need/demand in a rural area but more often reflects the fact that rental assistance is not available for the units and income-qualified seniors or households simply cannot afford the rent. A goal of 100% rental assistance for each project is needed. RRH 515 units continue to leave the program, they should be replaced with new units, if not on a 1:1 basis, at least making use of the returned rental assistance subsidy for other units. Finally, the backlog of MPR applications has grown to over two years. Keeping these units in the program and rehabbing them is important.

WI-CARH, participating with the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) continues to monitor these issues as well as the further expansion proposed of the housing tax credit (LIHTC). Progress is slow but being made on multiple issues. The need for affordable housing is not going away.

For those members who have staff attending our Fair Housing session in May, thank you in advance for participating. If you have not registered yet, there is still time. (Please see the next article to register.) Thank you to our sponsors for also supporting affordable and “fair” housing in Wisconsin.

Finally, we hope to have good and welcome news this summer about our fall conference.

Thank you for all you do for Wisconsin housing and your residents.

Russell D. Kaney
President, WI-CARH
Sign up for WI-CARH's Spring Training

WI-CARH Virtual Fair Housing Seminar
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Please join us for an engaging educational seminar on Fair Housing. Wisconsin Council for Affordable & Rural Housing (WI-CARH) is proud to team up with Zeffert & Associates for their expertise and excellent training services. Zeffert & Associates will offer a six-hour seminar that is especially geared towards property owners, managers, site personnel, maintenance technicians, and anyone who provides services to the multifamily housing industry. Investing the money in training yourself and your staff will be money well spent when compared to the potential costs of not understanding fair housing obligations.

Training will be on the following topics with additional topics to be included:

  • Overview
  • The Fair Housing Act
  • Discrimination
  • The federal protected classes
  • Prohibited actions
  • Sexual harassment
  • Disparate impact
  • The violence against women act (VAWA)
  • Allowable advertising
  • Section 504
  • American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Reasonable accommodations
  • Reasonable modifications
  • Assistance and support animals
  • Marijuana

Each attendee who completes this course will receive a useful course manual with references, and a certificate of attendance which counts towards their continuing education hours.


9:00 - 12:00 - Session
12:00-12:30 - Lunch
12:30 - 3:30 - Session
Who should attend?
Property owners, managers, site personnel, maintenance technicians, and anyone who provides services to the multifamily housing industry.  

The speaker will be Ronnette Smith, Trainer, Zeffert & Associates
Ronnette has worked in the Affordable Housing industry since 2001. She started her career in Low Income Housing Tax Credit as a Compliance Coordinator then branched out to Sales and Marketing Manager and now as a Trainer. She has overseen more than 30 communities at varying levels, which has created a vast depth of knowledge from multiple vantage points. Ronnette is a motivated, energetic, and goal-oriented trainer which makes her a great asset to the Affordable Housing industry. Residing in the Tampa Bay area, Ronnette helps Zeffert ensure wide territory coverage coast to coast. She is a graduate of Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida. Born and raised in Florida she enjoys traveling and spending time with her daughter and family.  Ronnette holds the HCCP, HCM-R and FHS designations.


WI-CARH Members: $99 (3 or more from the same company $75)
Non-Members:  $150 (3 or more from the same company $125)
If you are not a member of WI-CARH, please sign up and receive the member rate. 

For more information, please see the brochure.  
Be a Sponsor at WI-CARH's Spring Training
We would like to invite you to join us as a Sponsor at our Virtual Spring Training on May 11, 2021. The topic of the training is Fair Housing.  

For more information or to register, please fill out the form. Contact the WI-CARH office at info@wicarh.org for more information. 
Spring Training Sponsors
Please click on the logos to go
to the sponsors websites
Youth Grant and Scholarship Opportunities
Wisconsin Council for Affordable & Rural Housing (WI-CARH) is accepting applications for the Youth Grant and Scholarship program.  Please spread the word and help us make a difference in a student's future! Youth grants in the amount not to exceed $500 per student, per year, until all funds are used, will be awarded to enable students in grades 3-12 to participate in an academic enrichment activity. Eligible activities include: Little League, Soccer, Volleyball or Basketball Leagues, 4H Camp, Music or Band Camp, Sports Camp, Cheerleading Camp, Girl Scouts or Boy Scout Camp, and an International Youth Exchange Program. These activities are on a year-round basis and not limited to the summer.

Help your residents achieve their educational goals. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior or adult wishing to further their education. Eligible applicants can use the scholarship at any two (2) year or higher accredited public or private school in the State of Wisconsin which offers an associate or undergraduate degree or a vocational/technical program. 

Applications for the grant and scholarship program are being accepted now. Please check our website for more information. If you would like to have a flyer for your property please click on the grant flyer and the scholarship flyer.  
WHEDA awards $35 million in federal and state housing tax credits for 2021
Awards advance affordable housing projects in 19 communities statewide

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2021
Contact: Jennifer Sereno, WHEDA, 608-770-8084, jennifer.sereno@wheda.com

MADISON – The award of $35.1 million in federal and state housing tax credits will advance housing opportunity and economic recovery in Wisconsin through the creation of 2,200 affordable housing units in the months ahead, Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday.
The state and federal housing tax credit awards by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority support 33 housing projects in 19 communities statewide and cap a highly competitive process that drew requests totaling more than $57 million. The award of $35.1 million represents an increase from the 2020 award total of $31.9 million.
“Wisconsin’s successful tax credit programs continue to advance equitable access to affordable housing and economic opportunity for the people of our state – supporting our workforce, our families, and the well-being of our communities,” said Gov. Evers. “These tax credits drive economic vitality, leverage private capital, strengthen the local employment base, and provide housing security for our most vulnerable residents. As we’ve seen, demand for these highly competitive housing tax credits continues to outstrip supply. That’s why my 2021-23 state budget proposal seeks to increase the available state credits to $10 million per year from the current $7 million.”
WHEDA CEO Joaquín Altoro said this year’s plan for allocating the credits increased the emphasis on rural communities, supportive housing, partnerships with developers from underrepresented communities, and sustainability. The 2021 projects range in size from a 24-unit project by the Lac Courte Oreilles Housing Authority in Hayward to a 173-unit, family-focused project by Roers Investments in Sun Prairie.
“If Wisconsin is to thrive, our workforce, our families, and our most vulnerable residents require access to safe, affordable housing,” Altoro said. “As these needs continue to evolve, WHEDA is adapting its programs and strengthening critical partnerships with developers, lenders, local housing groups, community leaders, and elected officials. Addressing Wisconsin’s longstanding housing gap demands innovation and collaboration.”
Highlights of this year’s state and federal housing tax credit awards include a total of $14.7 million in federal 9% housing tax credits to fund 17 projects with 866 low- and moderate-income housing units. A total of $7.1 million in state 4% housing tax credits will fund 16 projects with 1,334 low- and moderate-income housing units.
The award of the state 4% credits triggers the availability of $13.3 million in federal 4% tax credits for these projects. In all, the tax credits support the development of a total of 2,343 units including the 2,200 low- to moderate-income units affordable for those earning at or below 60% of the area median income. 
Communities with projects receiving awards are: Ashland, Ashwaubenon, Eau Claire, Hayward, Kaukauna, Kenosha, Lac du Flambeau, Madison, Manitowoc, McFarland, Middleton, Milwaukee, Mosinee, Oconto, Sister Bay, Stevens Point, Sun Prairie, Two Rivers, and Wauwatosa.
The $14.7 million in federal 9% tax credits are worth some $126 million over the 10-year lifespan of the credits. The state 4% credits are worth some $35 million over a six-year lifespan and the federal 4% tax credits are worth some $114 million over a 10-year lifespan.
In terms of meeting WHEDA’s objectives for the areas of increased emphasis in the 2021-2022 Qualified Allocation Plan:

  • Seven of 16 eligible applicants qualified for the rural set-aside under both programs.

  • Following WHEDA’s decision to increase the number of points awarded to projects that provide emerging developers with a minimum 24% ownership interest in the general partner/managing member role, 29 of the 54 applicants sought these points. Overall, 18 of the awarded projects reflect minority developer collaboration.

  • To qualify, all projects met increased sustainability standards as administered by the Wisconsin Green Built Home program.

  • Two of the three applicants applying in the Supportive Housing set-aside are receiving awards. In addition, 49 applications received extra scoring points for offering integrated supportive services as part of their project proposal.
WHEDA has been the sole administrator for federal affordable housing tax credits in Wisconsin since the program began in 1986 and since the state program began in 2018. The programs do not subsidize renters; instead, they provide tax incentives through the Internal Revenue Code and the Wisconsin tax code that encourage developers to create qualified affordable housing.
In exchange for receiving the tax credits, developers agree to reserve all or a portion of their housing units for low- and moderate-income households for at least 30 years. Any remaining units are rented at market rates. The developers then sell the tax credits to private investors to obtain funding. Once the housing project is available to tenants, investors can claim the tax credit as a dollar-for-dollar reduction of federal or Wisconsin income taxes owed over a 10-year period.
In 2020, funding requests also exceeded the $31.9 million allocations through the federal and state programs when applicants sought $61 million. WHEDA fully deployed the available credits in 2020 including some credits returned from prior allocations to help advance a total of 2,058 affordable housing units.
Developments that receive affordable housing tax credits go through a highly competitive application process administered by WHEDA. Tax credit developments must meet high design and operating standards. The scoring system for the awards is referred to as WHEDA’s Qualified Action Plan; it includes points for strong management, excellent development quality, demonstrated market need, provision of supportive services and amenities, proximity to economic opportunities, and proper local zoning.
Find details of the 2021 federal and state tax credit allocations here. To keep up with information about WHEDA resources, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and sign up to receive emails here
For more than 48 years, WHEDA has worked to provide low-cost financing for housing and small business development in Wisconsin. Since 1972, WHEDA has financed more than 78,000 affordable rental units, helped more than 135,000 families purchase a home, and provided more than 29,000 small business and agricultural loan guarantees. WHEDA is a self-supporting public corporation that receives no tax dollars for its operations. For more information on WHEDA programs, visit wheda.com or call 800-334-6873.
Covid-19 Response Information
Please visit our links below to gain the most up-to-date information regarding the impacts of Covid-19 pertaining to affordable housing providers and managers.

CARH - Covid 19 Updates and Information link
USDA - Covid 19 link
Rural Development - Wisconsin - Covid 19 link
Mark Your Calendars - 2021 Dates
May 11, 2021: WI-CARH Virtual Spring Training
Fair Housing

May 18, 2021: Board Meeting

September 14, 2021: Board Meeting

October 28-29, 2021: 23rd Annual WI-CARH Conference & Board Meeting, Wilderness Territory, Wisconsin Dells
Do you have news to share?
We would love to hear about it!
Please submit your news to info@wicarh.org