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On July 18th, the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) held the first of two input sessions for the use of funds for three U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs. These programs, HOME Investment Partnerships,National Housing Trust Fund(HTF), and Housing Opportunity for Persons with Aids, provide affordable housing opportunities to moderate, low and extremely low-income Oklahomans.  Public participation was meager; five people attended. 

The agency is considering HOME and HTF program changes below.

  1. Online application and environmental submittal through Dropbox.
  2. Ensure you use the correct Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan for your proposed activity.
  3. Applicants must complete the HUD Wiser Environmental Training Modules on the HUD Exchange website and submit the HUD transcript showing the applicant completed the required training. 
  4. Applicants or consultants that complete all 15 quizzes with the required 80% passing grade can qualify for 5 points towards the 10 point maximum in the HOME/Fair Housing Training rating factor. Completed modules are suitable for three (3) years.

Public comments include:

  • For HOME and HTF consider loans instead of grants as an option for tax credit developments due to tax consequences.
  • Add visitability standards to at least 10% of the single family residential units to be constructed or renovated, especially homes set aside to serve tenant special needs populations. This could be added as rating factor or incorporated as an OHFA Construction standard.  Attendees suggested that “visitability”  include one zero-step entrance or an integrated ramp; doors with 34 inches of clear passage space, and one bathroom on the main floor you can access in a wheelchair. 
  • Add storm shelters as a rating factor or to OHFA Construction Standards. 
  • Add a statement to the application for potential applicants to estimate OHFA inspection fees into the maximum subsidy per unit to ensure they do not exceed the limit.
  • Note on the funding award list the projects that have units set aside for Tenant Special Needs Populations so that consumers can find units.
  • Given the slight increase in funding and lack of affordable housing units, explore using some HOME funds for Tenant Based Rental Assistancethat can be managed through OHFA’s Section 8 program.  According to the Out of Reach 2019 report, Oklahomans need to earn $15.54 per hour to afford fair market rent and utilities. The Statewide Housing Needs Studyshows Oklahoma needs thousands of affordable units. Providing a rent subsidy could help families afford available housing in the market place. 

The next meeting is August 15that 1:00 p.m. at the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, Will Rogers Conference Room, 100 NW 63rd Street, Oklahoma City. Members of the public are free to attend. Registration is not required. 

OHFA will also accept written comments and suggestions regarding the 2020 HOME, HTF and HOPWA Programs.  Email your written comments and ideas to Danette Carr, Housing Development Allocation Supervisor, at danette.carr@ohfa.org, or Ashton Walling, Housing Development Allocation Specialist, at ashton.walling@ohfa.org.  Comments can also be sent by regular mail to 100 NW 63rd Street, Suite 200, Oklahoma City, OK  73116.

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